Hosting Dundalk in the first round of the Class 3A North Region II volleyball playoffs on Thursday, Patapsco had to find an answer to the old question: how difficult is it to beat a team three times in the same season?
Well, sometimes you beat that opponent twice in the regular season because you’re just better. The third encounter just reinforces it.
Patapsco beat Dundalk 25-12, 25-11, 20-25, 25-12 to move into the second round. where the fourth-seeded Patriots (10-7) fell to top-seeded Bel Air (13-1) in three sets.
After the Owls stubbornly resisted being swept by taking the third set, the patriots quickly squelched plans for a dramatic fifth set by taking a quick 11-2 lead in set four.
Morgan Dennis regained the serve with a spike to give Patapsco a 4-2 lead, then proceeded to serve seven straight points.
Two spikes by Morgan Hug and a block by Maddy Crawley helped the run, before the Owls regained the serve on a spike by Gurkamal Kaur.
Dundalk got to within 15-9 as Emma Wischhusen served four points, but the patriots gradually pulled away until Hug steped to the service line with a 22-12 lead.
Two aces and an Owl error ended the match.
Leading 16-10 in the first set, Patapsco scored nine of the next 10 points to grab a 1-0 lead in the match.
Hug started the second set by serving 12 straight points to open up a 13-0 lead (Dundalk had the first serve, and failed to put it in play).
Hug served five aces during the run, and Dennis scored a point on a block. The rest of the points came off of Owl mistakes.
Dundalk was unable to get back in the set after that opening Patapsco run. The Patriots usually picked up a couple of points with each service, while the Owls only had six services and failed to score on of them, losing the serve on a net violation, a double-hit, a short serve and a deep serve.
Patapsco appeared on the verge of a sweep as it took a 12-6 lead in the third set, but the Owls rallied by finally sustaining two long service runs.
Kaitlin Ross served eight consecutive points to give the Owls a 15-12 leas. Ross had six straight aces during her run, as well as a spike by Briana Christian.
After Patapsco countered with a five-point service run by Hug, Christian stepped to the line and served eight straight points to give Dundalk a 24-18 lead.
Christian had three aces, and Kyra wallace landed a spike. The Patriots misfired on three spike attempts.
Patapsco regained the serve and closed the gap to 24-20 before a Wallace dink won it for the Owls.
Dundalk, which lost in four sets to Patapsco at home and was swept at Patapsco during the regular season, finished 6-10.