Sherwood High School’s Maddie Moyer sat in a room on the bottom floor of the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum last week with her eyes bloodshot. But the senior setter still displayed a smile as the thought slowly sunk in that her high school tenure had just concluded.
It couldn’t have ended any better for her and the Warriors. Sherwood won its third straight Class 4A girls volleyball state title by sweeping Arundel 27-25, 25-14, 25-13 in College Park.
Sherwood also defeated Arundel in straight sets during last year’s championship match and eliminated the Wildcats in the state semifinals in 2010.
“Coming in freshman year, I never would have expected that we would win three state championships,” said Moyer, who recorded 30 assists in the final on Nov. 19. “It’s unbelievable and it’s a dream come true. Winning one was amazing. Winning three, that’s just unheard of.”
The win extended Sherwood’s unbeaten streak to 57 in best-of-five set matches and capped a third straight perfect 19-0 season. It only lost three sets all year — two to Walter Johnson and one to Broadneck.
Since the 4A classification — the state’s largest — was established in 1988, the Warriors are the fourth team to win three consecutive state championships. Severna Park (1991-’93), Northern-Calvert (1994-’96) and Broadneck (2007-’09) also won three straight 4A state titles. Sherwood is the only team to do so without dropping a set in finals matches.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet, but just knowing that we’ve won three is a dream come true,” senior Alex Holston said.
Holston, who plans to play at the University of Florida next year, was again dominant. A match after setting a state record with 42 kills, Holston had 25 kills, four aces and three block assists.
“It’s pretty tough [defending Holston],” Arundel libero Lilly Glenn said. “You just have to read her arm and it goes down pretty fast.”
Arundel coach Ashley Yuscavage said, “Everything she did out there she did well. She passed well when she had to [and] she played defense well. ... It’s always exciting to see really good volleyball players and it’s exciting to see her move on to the next stage of the game.”
Arundel (19-1) played Sherwood closest in the first set and had a chance to win with a set point. But the Warriors rallied as Moyer fed the ball to Holston for two points before winning the set on a Wildcat error.
In the second and third sets, Sherwood took control, both emotionally and physically, to put the match away.
The second set was put out of reach with Moyer at the service line. A 15-13 Warrior lead quickly turned into a 22-13 advantage. Moyer served two aces during that stretch while Holston had four kills, including one on a block.
Senior libero Megan Brady made arguably the play of the match during the second. After Holston tipped a ball behind the back line on the team’s second hit, Brady ran the ball down and hit a backwards, over-the-shoulder bump from 10 feet beyond the boundary line back to the Wildcats. Arundel returned the ball on one hit to a waiting Natalie Sebeck who was positioned at the net. Sebeck slammed it back to take the point.
“We had to leave everything on the court or we would regret it,” Brady said. “We left everything we could on the court and it paid off.”
Sherwood 3, Arundel 0
Sherwood (19-0) 27 25 25 — 3
Arundel (19-1) 25 14 13 — 0
Sherwood — Alex Holston 25, Kerra Tirado 4, Makayla Roy 3, Katie Russell 2
Arundel — Allison Orr 5, Samantha Hebb 3, Gabrelle Bryant 3, Ashlee Felton 3