GREENBELT – The top two Prince George’s County volleyball teams, Northwestern and Eleanor Roosevelt, battled in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A playoff bracket last Friday for a chance to become the queens of the county and move on to the state semifinals.
Roosevelt, who dominated opposing teams throughout the season, reminded Northwestern just how good it is by sweeping the Lady Wildcats, 25-9, 25-10, 25-11 on Nov. 10 to win the regional championship.
In the first set, Roosevelt senior libero Nia Scott led the charge. Northwestern had no defensive answers for Scott’s aces as Roosevelt jumped out to an early 14-1 lead.
“I just tried to focus on my routine and had good solid contact on the ball. I just wanted to put the ball in play so we could get the offense going,” said Scott, who finished with seven aces on the night.
Northwestern went on a 4-1 run and looked like it was going to get back into the game. However, Roosevelt would not be denied on its home court and went on a 9-4 run to take the first set, 25-9.
The second set was no different as Roosevelt proved it is a force to be reckoned with. The Lady Raiders got off to another hot start by going up 13-2. Northwestern had no answer for Roosevelt’s offense as it dominated another set and won, 25-10.
“We dominated because when we had served, we started off strong,” said sophomore Jourdan Page said, who finished with five kills and two aces. “We made sure we pushed ahead and got a big lead like that.
“When we had to receive, we made sure our return game was on point, got the first pass to the setter and killed it right then and there.”
With their backs against the wall, the Wildcats came out better than the first two sets and trailed Roosevelt by just two points. Still, even their best last-ditch effort was not good enough as Roosevelt outscored Northwestern 19-7 to win the third and final set, 25-11.
“I give Northwestern credit,” Roosevelt Head Coach Eileen Lloyd said. “They were better than when we played them at the beginning of the year. Their coach had told me that he was hoping to play us later in the year because he knew he could help them improve, and they did improve. We’re just playing volleyball at another level than they are.”
Roosevelt defeated Bowie and Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. on its way to the anticipated matchup with Northwestern. Although the Raiders dominated the Wildcats, they know they still have work to do. Without much competition during the season, the Raiders know they have to prepare for their next matchup with east champ Arundel.
“We really need to focus on minimizing our mistakes, like serving them out and focusing on putting the pressure on other teams to make mistakes instead of us giving them free points,” Scott said.
Page said the offensive tempo could be better as well.
“We can work on running our offense faster and keeping a faster tempo to keep the opponent on their toes. We don’t want them to have too much time to reset,” she said.
Roosevelt will have its talents tested against Arundel on Nov. 16, as it has only one loss on the season.
“We haven’t played many offensive opponents that really run significant offenses,” Lloyd said. “Bowie is the only team that we played in the last couple weeks that pushed us. We try in practice to simulate that, but not since we played Holy Cross in mid-October have we faced a team quite like Arundel.”
Elsewhere, Frederick Douglass swept Lackey in the 1A bracket to win the regional championship. The Lady Eagles will play Perryville on Nov. 15 in the state semifinals.