Watkins Mill Coach Jody McLean is constantly reminding players that the most direct route to victory lies in ending points quickly. The Wolverines executed the strategy to near perfection in their 25-13, 25-16, 25-16 victory over host Walter Johnson last night in a Montgomery County Gold Division volleyball game in Bethesda.
Wolverines junior Hannah Wilson and sophomore Cassandra Auguste served splendidly as Watkins Mill overtook a Walter Johnson squad that was missing two starters. With the victory, Watkins Mill (7-0, 2-0) remains one of four undefeated teams in the county. Walter Johnson (4-2, 1-2) played without defensive specialist Tracy Li and blocker-middle hitter Clara Durbin, who were injured in last Thursday's game at Wootton.
"They did serve well," Wildcats Coach Bill Morris said. "On any given day, [either Auguste or Wilson] can control a game. But you have to remember that in volleyball when you're missing one player, a change in the lineup messes up everything. Missing two players is huge."With Wilson serving, Auguste set the tone early for Watkins Mill. She single-handedly won three consecutive points with a kill and two blocks to lift the Wolverines to a 6-1 lead. Walter Johnson managed to tie the score at 7, but Wilson served two aces to start Watkins Mill on a 7-0 run. The Wolverines did not relinquish the lead after that.
"We talked about this being a match [in which] we needed to make sure that we played at the level we can," McLean said. "If we serve and pass the ball effectively, nobody has a chance to beat us."
In the second game, Walter Johnson took a 13-10 lead behind the serving of Christina Paul and two kills by Alex Porter. But then the duo of Auguste and Wilson took over, and Watkins Mill won 12 consecutive points to take a 22-13 lead.
Wilson recorded three aces during that span, while Auguste added three kills and three aces.
Wilson opened the third game with three aces as Watkins Mill took a 5-1 lead. Tiffany Pleasant helped expand the lead, adding four aces to give the Wolverines a 19-10 edge. With Wilson serving, Auguste closed out the match with a ferocious block.
"This was our first really hard match on the schedule this season," Wilson said. "To come out playing as we did goes a long way in giving us confidence."