By Jeremy Balan
Behind a standout performance from senior Clara Cardillo, Bay School won its third consecutive Bay Counties League Central championship with a 25-23, 24-26, 15-25, 25-23, 15-8 win over Waldorf on Saturday at International High School.
Cardillo had a team-high 14 kills and a match-high seven blocks, and went toe-to-toe with standout Waldorf senior Isabel Kuhel.
“Not a lot of schools even get an opportunity to have a three-peat,” Cardillo said. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team, so we knew it was going to be a struggle, but that definitely made it more gratifying.”
Bay (10-13) has dominated the BCL Central in recent years, winning the league in four of the five years they’ve had a varsity team, but Waldorf won both regular-season meetings between the two teams this season.
“It feels tremendous,” said Bay head coach James Scrivano. “We didn’t even have a varsity program when I got here, because the school had only freshmen and sophomores.”
In the deciding fifth game, Bay led throughout, led by two kills and two blocks by junior Bayley McMillan, but the lack of drama was not indicative of the entire match.
The match featured 27 ties and 13 lead changes, with multiple extended runs and blown leads from each team.
“It was a really close match and it was really anyone’s game,” said Waldorf head coach Jennifer Wisner. “It’s a very mental game and when you have it you’re up, when you don’t you’re down.”
The Waldorf (16-7) offense primarily ran through Kuhel, and she responded with a match high 16 kills to go along with six blocks and four aces, but at times, she was inconsistent.
“Everyone played their hearts out tonight,” Wisner said. “No one’s perfect and I think she did what she could. Bay just was a little better tonight.”
With the league title, Bay gets an automatic bid to the CIF-North Coast Section Division V playoffs, and Waldorf will likely receive an at-large bid in the Division VI tournament.
“It’s going to be tough to see [these seniors] go, but we’ve still got NCS and we’re going to battle against whoever we play next,” Scrivano said.