By Jeremy Balan
It may be a different team and a different year, but Bay School is right back where it wants to be.
The three-time defending Bay Counties League Central girls volleyball champions are back in the league title game again after a thrilling 25-21 24-26, 25-18, 21-25, 15-12 over Waldorf in the league semifinals on Wednesday at Holy Trinity Church.
The second-seeded Breakers (13-12) advance to face top-seeded International, which defeated San Domenico in the other semifinal, also on Wednesday.
“That was exciting, wasn’t it?” said Bay head coach James Scrivano. “We usually play Waldorf in the final, so it’s exciting to have a new opponent. It’s our goal to get to the championship every year and we’ve done it every year we’ve had a varsity team.”
Other than the third game, which was controlled form the start by Bay, the match was tightly contested, featuring 12 lead changes and 24 ties.
Waldorf senior middle blocker Karina Berry occupied the spotlight for the Wolverines (12-9) from the start, with eight kills in the first game, and went on to finish with a match-high 22 kills. Berry, a transfer student who has only played in Waldorf’s last five matches, also had three blocks and two aces.
“She just became eligible and it was really great to have a go-to on a night like tonight,” said Waldorf head coach Ashlynn Dolcini. “She’s really come through for us.”
As impressive as Berry’s performance was, the rest of the Wolverines only accounted for 15 kills, and Bay’s longest runs came with Berry stuck in the back row. The Breakers also changed their strategy to defend Berry after her breakout first game.
“We did a much better job of covering their one big hitter,” Scrivano said. “She gets a lot of kills out of the back [row] and we made an adjustment to stay wide in our back court and we scrapped up.”
While Berry was the main weapon in the Waldorf offense, the Breakers got kills from nine different players, led by sophomore middle blocker Fiona Twiford, who had 12 kills off the bench. Senior middle blocker Bayley McMillan also had nine kills and junior outside hitter Cat McIlwraith added seven.
“In preparing for this [match], we decided that they can’t defend what we do offensively,” Scrivano said. “It was about minimizing mistakes and we mixed it up on offense really well.”
Bay will face off with International on Friday night at Holy Trinity, but the Wolverines’ season isn’t over, with a North Coast Section Division IV playoff bid awaiting.
“We haven’t seen any of the teams in [our division], so it’s unknown a little bit, but we’re ready to go for NCS,” Dolcini said.