GA sophomore Grace Polisano closes in for a kill during last week’s league finale against Springside Chestnut Hill. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

GA sophomore Grace Polisano closes in for a kill during last week’s league finale against Springside Chestnut Hill. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The 2013 Inter-Ac League volleyball campaign concluded for visiting Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and host Germantown Academy last Tuesday, when the Patriots posted a 3-1 home-court victory, winning the first, third, and fourth games in the match.

GA (12-4 overall) needed the win in order to tie for second place in the league with Agnes Irwin. The two teams split in their head-to-head encounters this season, and each finished with a 5-3 mark in the Inter-Ac, trailing undefeated champion Notre Dame.

SCH (12-10 overall) swept its home/away league series against Baldwin School, and finished up fourth in the standings, at 2-6.

With the help of a scoring tip from sophomore Marissa Pownall and a true service ace by senior Jenna Moriarty, the Blue Devils edged ahead 4-2 in the opening game of last Tuesday’s Inter-Ac swansong, then Patriots sophomore Carly Pruitt put down a kill for the side-out and stepped to the service line to deliver four straight unreturned serves. With a hit by fellow tenth-grader Grace Polisano tacked on, GA was now up 8-4, and would lead the rest of the game.

The visitors were still only down four points at 13-9, then a kill by GA senior Megan McCloskey kicked off a 5-0 burst that included three scores by Pruitt from the outside spot. The count was now 18-9, and SCH was unable to get back in it, eventually falling, 25-14.

At the dawn of game two, the Blue Devils corrected a 2-3 shortfall, as kills by senior Courtney Hamilton and Pownall formed part of a 5-0 spurt that made it 7-3, SCH. The Patriots never fell out of contention, but they trailed until the middle of the game, tying things up at 15-all when a set by senior Shannon Robins helped Pruitt pound a scoring hit off of two visiting blockers.

Springside Chestnut Hill’s most successful blocking duo featured juniors Kyra Jackson and Bridget McDermott, and after SCH fell behind the Pats, 19-22, it was this tandem that eventually scored the tying point as the Devils climbed back to 22-22. Jackson then demonstrated that she can perform solo, as well, accounting for the last three points of the game. The 25-22 decision leveled off the overall match score at 1-1.

GA gained an 11-9 edge in the third game, then a kill by Hamilton and an unanswered serve by Moriarty knotted the score at 11-all. GA’s Pruitt secured a side-out with a hit, and over several rotations the Pats proceeded to build a 20-13 advantage. During this stretch there were multiple kills by McCloskey and Polisano, a score off a pass by Robins, and a tip by senior Hanna Bogorowski.

After GA went up 24-14, the Blue Devils collected three more points to delay the defeat, then the hosts wrapped it up with a scoring tip by Pruitt, forging ahead 2-1 in the match.

A tip by Hamilton and two GA miscues had SCH out to a 3-0 lead as game four began, then the Patriots drew even, and the two teams stayed pretty much in step up to a score of 10-10. The home team acquired a modest lead, but the Blue Devils were still close behind a few minutes later, trailing 15-18.

Bogorowski scored on a hit and three more Patriot points followed, giving them a little more separation. A little later GA remained stuck at 24 points, serving one ball long and hitting another out of bounds to give Springside Chestnut Hill its last two points of the day. Off a set by McCloskey, Pruitt placed a tip just inside the right net post at the front of the court for match point.

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