The players from the top-ranked Sherwood volleyball team jumped up and down, cheering and mobbing one another at midcourt, almost instantly after Arundel’s final kill attempt fell narrowly out of bounds on Saturday. It wasn’t the first time this talented group of players got to celebrate on this stage.
By sweeping the fourth-ranked, undefeated Wildcats, 25-21, 25-19, 25-19, at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum, the Warriors claimed their second straight Maryland 4A title. A different year, but the same result and the same feeling for Sherwood (19-0).
“You still get the same rush because it’s the same thing we did last year,” said senior libero Sydney West, who finished with a match-high 12 digs. “We had to work for everything and we had to push and keep each other up and we did it. I’m so proud of us.”
The final pitted two of the state’s best teams in a rematch of a 2010 state semifinal, also won in straight sets by the Warriors.
And for much of the match on Saturday, the teams played each other close. But in the first two sets, Sherwood quickly overcame its minor errors and stopped Arundel runs.
Trailing 19-18 late in the second set, the Warriors scored the last seven points, five of them kills by All-Met outside hitter Alex Holston (14 kills and seven digs).
“Alex is one of those [players] that every time I know is going to kill it,” said junior setter Maddie Moyer, who finished with 29 assists.
In addition to Holston, senior hitters Megan Hewitt (11 kills and 10 digs) and Morgan McAlpin (nine kills) had solid performances to overpower Arundel (20-1) late in all three sets. No team led by more than six points in any set.
“In the beginnings, we started really strong but it was difficult to sustain,” said Arundel senior hitter Ashlyn Tapley (10 kills and eight digs), whose team was appearing in its first volleyball state final in school history.
With the win, Sherwood completed back-to-back undefeated seasons and claimed the program’s third overall state championship.