GA volleyball overcomes Baldwin in straight sets

by Tom Utescher
Posted 10/5/21

Although the first two sets were fiercely contested by the visiting Baldwin School Bears, Germantown Academy still managed to secure a 3-0 victory last Tuesday in a league volleyball match.

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GA volleyball overcomes Baldwin in straight sets

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Although the first two sets were fiercely contested by the visiting Baldwin School Bears, Germantown Academy still managed to secure a 3-0 victory last Tuesday in a league volleyball match.

In Inter-Ac League play, Tuesday's win moved the Patriots into winning territory, at 2-1. Previously, they had beaten Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and had lost to perennial league power Academy of Notre Dame.

Charles "Chuck" Dougherty has become the Patriots' third head coach since the 2017 season. The club he started in 2016 in his native Glenside, TNT Volleyball, was enthusiastically received and now boast 15 teams in various age groups. Dougherty had been coaching AAU volleyball for many years before launching TNT. This is his first season as a high school team coach.

GA's team captains for 2021 are senior Zoe Hersh and juniors Fiona McKenna and Ellie Smith. Smith's sister Caroline, a freshman, has already become an impact player for the Patriots.

A few minutes into the opening set last Tuesday, the Baldwin Bears called time-out, trailing 7-2. GA had gotten kills from McKenna and sophomore Kaitlin Pokorny, and the visitors had hurt themselves with errors, as well.

From there, the score progressed fairly evenly up to 17-11, but then the home fans became alarmed when Baldwin scored on some tips and a block, running off five straight points to make it a one-point affair (17-16). The Bears then mishit a ball to give over the serve to Germantown freshman Liv Reynolds.

The ninth-grader stayed at the line for four points in a row, landing a true service ace (no opponent touch on the ball) just inside the baseline while Baldwin handed over the other points with errant hits. The visitors never got as close again, and GA won 25-19 with the Bears hitting the ball into the net for the Pats' set point.

The Patriots had a strong start once more in set two, getting out to an 11-4 lead with kills by McKenna, Ellie Smith, sophomore Angie Wang, and freshman Hadley Evans. Later, GA had a commanding 20-9 lead, but once again, the match hosts did not decisively close out the set.

Baldwin narrowed the gap to seven points at 22-15, then slipped back a point when a serve went out over the baseline. The Bears then scored three straight for a 23-18 tally, with the points coming on a scoring tip and two GA errors.

Next, the Bears tried to recover from a hit by GA's Pokorny and sent the ball up into the ceiling and then up into a raised basketball backboard in the same sequence. The ball hit the floor after the second overhead bounce, but Baldwin won the next point on a tip. Germantown finally secured set point when Pokorny, on the left outside, tipped the ball over a Baldwin block. Like the first set, the final was 25-19.

In the third set, the visitors kept pace up to 5-5, then GA got a side-out on a belt by Ellie Smith. Junior Kate Stone then stepped to the service line for six mote GA points. The last in the string came on a tap by Reynolds, giving the home team a 12-5 advantage.

This time, Baldwin never recovered, unable to score more than two points in a row (and that only once). On the left, GA sophomore Maddalena Donches tipped the ball over a Bear block for set and match point.

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