By: Dr. Richard Midcap, President, Garrett College
Cumberland, MD- Garrett College clinched a winning women's volleyball regular season by sweeping local rival Allegany College of Maryland, 25-9, 25-9, and 25-19, last Thursday night.
The Lakers (9-7 overall, 5-5 league) overwhelmed winless ACM (0-17, 0-10) as Samantha Kennell combined 10 aces with 16 digs. Lauryn Moon had a team-high 18 digs, Jada Maxwell contributed a team-high 6 kills, Kendra Friend added 4 kills, and Colleen Kemp had a team-best .444 hitting percentage.
GC head coach Kim Harsch said the Lakers' ability to bounce back from tough losses has been a key to securing a winning season.
"I think that we have done a very good job of having short-term memory," said Harsch, who has guided the Lakers to their best season in her five years as head coach. "We have preached that this year: Once this match is over, let's focus on the next one and not look back.
"We have only lost two matches in a row once this year, and those matches were on the same day," added Harsch.
Harsch said each of her players have provided "pleasant surprises" during the course of the season.
"Jada [Maxwell] has continued to get better as the year has gone on; she came back to volleyball after a break from the sport," said Harsch. "Colleen [Kemp] also hasn't played in a few years, but she has come back doing well. She's the energy to our team, the one who cheers, brings a celebration together on the court, etc.
"Lauryn [Moon] is just so steady for us," continued Harsch. "Kendra [Friend] has done well at right side this year after stepping up to set last year when we needed her in that role. Teyaurra [Harris] is definitely the anchor to our offense. When she is on, our whole team is on."
Harsch noted players have used their strengths to build a stronger team.
"G'Vahn [Pace] is very quick; she is great at running down balls and has been playing very good defense recently, especially with picking up tips where we had been struggling before," said Harsch. "Samantha [Kennell] has been so consistent as well; she stepped into a leading role as a freshman and hasn't disappointed."
The Lakers lost a non-conference match to visiting Northern Virginia Community College on Sunday, 25-20, 25-18, and 25-14. Kennell (14 assists), Moon (12 digs), and Kemp (6 kills) had strong performances in a losing effort.
The Lakers will participate in the NJCAA Region XX tournament during the first weekend in November. In order to continue GC's impressive season, Harsch said the Lakers will have to be better at closing out opponents.
"One thing we struggle with is closing games," said Harsch. "We've been in very close games with good teams, but have fallen short a few times. We also need to continue to develop our offense, and serve receive.
"We need to have a little confidence in ourselves as well," added Harsch. "I know they can do it; they have to believe it, too."