Sophomore Marissa Pownall serves for the SCH Blue Devils during last Friday’s match against Germantown Academy. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Sophomore Marissa Pownall serves for the SCH Blue Devils during last Friday’s match against Germantown Academy. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Host Springside Chestnut Hill was just two points away from victory in the opening game of last Friday’s Inter-Ac League volleyball match, but got edged out, 26-24. After that, visiting Germantown Academy gathered momentum and won the next two rounds more easily, 25-16 and 25-11, to wrap up the contest in three straight games.

SCH slipped to 7-6 overall, and the Blue Devils were left still in search of their first victory in the Inter-Ac, where they have lost twice to defending champ Agnes Irwin and once to current league leader Notre Dame.

GA’s Dan Sullivan, a longtime faculty member and assistant volleyball coach at the school, has stepped up to head coach this fall, and Friday’s outcome lifted his team’s record to 9-2 overall and 3-2 in league play. The Patriots started the month with a 3-0 upset of Agnes Irwin, but then lost for a second time this season to Notre Dame.

As Friday’s match in Chestnut Hill got underway, SCH gained a 9-6 advantage, marking down kills for seniors Courtney Hamilton and Jenna Moriarty and benefitting from some GA errors. Helping keep the Patriots in contention, senior Hanna Bogorowski scored on a hit and a tip. Bogorowski, who transferred to GA after spending her freshman year at Mount St. Joseph Academy, has decided to attend Gettysburg College, where she will play lacrosse.

The visitors pulled even with the host Blue Devils at 12-12, and from there not many points separated the teams as they worked their way up to a 21-21 tie. GA sophomore Carly Pruitt batted down a kill and then sent across a serve that the Devils couldn’t deal with, making it 23-21. SCH then came back to tie the game on a kill by junior Emily Chicchi and a hit out-of-bounds by Germantown.

The Blue Devils got their wires crossed and let a ball drop to the floor on the next sequence, but pulled back into a 24-24 tie thanks to a kill by junior Brigit McDermott. The officials then called two double-hits on the hosts, and GA prevailed, 26-24.

SCH earned a 6-4 edge early in the second game, then six straight points pushed the Patriots ahead for good. Senior middle Megan McCloskey began to assert herself at the net early in the game, and this carried through the rest of the match. A national-class high jumper, McCloskey made a verbal commitment to the track program at Penn State during the first week of October.

When the Devils got down 10-18 in the middle of the second game, a successful block by Hamilton started a little three-point spurt that cut the visitors’ lead to five points. After that, though, the hosts were only able to score back-to-back points on one occasion, and GA proceeded to a nine-point win. Once again, the Patriots picked up game point when SCH was whistled for a double-hit.

A block and a kill by McCloskey were followed by a hit out over the left sideline by the Blue Devils, who quickly found themselves down 0-3 in the third game. The home team stayed close for a few minutes, but after the gap closed to one point at 6-5, Patriots sophomore Erin Lindahl stepped to the service line and stayed there for seven straight points.

Falling behind by 11 later on, SCH got off a 4-0 burst to tighten it up to 18-11, but that would be the Devils’ last gasp. The Patriots refocused and ran off the last seven points of the afternoon. Off of a set by senior Shannon Robins, GA sophomore Grace Polisano tipped the ball over an SCH block for match point.

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