If the first day of school is all about setting the tone, the Northeast volleyball program did its part to make sure it’s a good year for the Eagles in their Pasadena rivalry with Chesapeake.
The varsity and JV Eagles swept to victories over host Chesapeake on September 4 as the varsity girls notched a 3-1 win over the Cougars and the JV Eagles claimed a 2-1 win.
In the varsity matchup, the Eagles and Cougars split the first two games, but Northeast turned it on midway through in the pivotal third game to put the match to rest with a 25-20, 16-25, 25-14, 25-13 win.
“I’m really proud that they didn’t give up,” said Eagles head coach Meghan Kulzer. “In years past after losing a [game] like the second one, they would’ve kind of gotten down on themselves and not been able to recover, but they didn’t let that define how the rest of the games went, so I’m really proud of how they finished in the last two games.”
Junior setter/outside hitter Sabrina Sheppard, a transfer from county powerhouse Arundel, led Northeast with 11 kills, nine assists, six digs and seven aces on 20 of 22 serving in her first experience in the rivalry matchup.
“It feels great that we beat our rivals, but next time we play them we’ve just got to beat them again,” said Sheppard. “I think we can only get better from here.”
Junior libero Mallorie Hetzel was strong on defense with seven digs and said the Eagles continued to work out the communication kinks as the match went on.
“Our communication at first, we weren’t really talking as much, but we got better and better, and I think that’s what will help us later on in the season,” said Hetzel, a veteran of Northeast-Chesapeake softball battles in addition to volleyball. “Losing a lot of seniors from last year, we’re just trying to build it again. We got some new players from different schools, so that will probably help us this year.”
The Eagles’ winning effort was bolstered by the efforts of many as Camille Coryatt (13 kills, 13 assists, five aces), Makayla Belanger (six kills, five assists), Caroline Makarovich (six kills, three digs), Alia Esposito (three kills, five blocks) and Ryleigh Spiegel (eight kills, five assists) all made significant contributions.
The Eagles subsequently dropped a close match with Meade, 3-2, but they rebounded with a 3-0 win (25-19, 25-20, 25-18) over North County.
Also on September 4, the JV Eagles sported winning smiles in post-match photos following their 2-1 win over the Cougars prior to the varsity game. Madison Schelfe went nine for nine serving, Heather Barlage was eight of nine serving and Gabrielle Madarang was 10 of 12 serving in the JV Eagles’ victory.
“I am very proud of how tough the team played for their first game, especially since it was away at our biggest rival, Chesapeake,” said JV head coach Kim Kolarick. “After a great win the first game, we came out slow on serve revive [during] the second. As a team, we showed resilience during the third game to easily capture the match. We have a very strong serving team with numerous returners. Each game, the team picks a word to focus on, as a unit. This game was ‘determination,’ which was shown throughout the match leading to a team win.”