St. Mary's Ryken volleyball sweeps Seton
By Ted Black
In their quest to join the elite teams in the tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, the St. Mary's Ryken High School volleyball team understands the long road to a potential crown begins with a combination of hard practices and quick film study.
Last Thursday evening, Sept. 7, in their WCAC opener at Elizabeth Seton High of Prince George's County, the Knights' initial preparation appeared to pay dividends throughout the match as St. Mary's Ryken forged a three-game sweep over the host Roadrunners, 25-15, 25-15, 25-19.
SMR (2-0) executed well courtesy of a stellar back row anchored by senior libero Elle Jubeck, and an attack featuring sophomore setter Charlotte Campbell and senior outside hitter Emily Farrell.
"The hard work that we put in during practices has really paid off," Farrell said. "I think we have a lot more confidence now than we did in previous years. We beat Trinity Episcopal in four sets the other night and we never got tired, but we could see that they were wearing down a little. Our defense tonight was phenomenal and we had a good idea how to attack them."
St. Mary's Ryken gained command early in the first set on brief service runs from Jayla Ring, Farrell and Natalie Nichols and pushed the margin to 16-6 with Campbell serving. Fittingly, Farrell ended the opener with two straight service winners, converting a bump set from Jubeck for match point then the Knights ended it when her next serve did not come back across the net.
Seton (0-2) rallied from a 10-4 deficit to forge an 11-10 lead in the second set, but Campbell provided the tying point with a soft tap at the net. Then with Campbell serving the Knights pushed the lead to 16-12 and nearly ended it when Ring reeled off seven straight service winners for a 24-14 lead that included an ace and a pair of kills from Farrell off Campbell sets.
"After we studied them on film, I think we knew how to attack them," Campbell said. "We came here really well prepared. I think there's just a new culture here this year."
St. Mary's Ryken and Seton were on even terms through much of the third set and were tied at 10-all until Ring again reeled off seven straight service winners that included two kills from Farrell and another from Campbell off a Jubeck set. Seton narrowed the margin to 24-19 before Campbell ended the match with a left-handed tap and side-out point.
"This group of girls is so much closer than the ones in previous years," said Jubeck, who is headed to Mary Washington next fall for volleyball. "We had great support tonight from our junior varsity players on the bench and our parents and we didn't let the crowd noise distract us."
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