*Coach Brian McCarty of the Sherwood High School (Sandy Spring, MD) Warriors would love to be the next Russ Rose. He wants to turn his program into the high school version of Rose’s record-breaking, three-time defending national champion Penn State Nittany Lions womens’ volleyball team. The University of Maryland graduate is well on his way. His Sherwood High School Warriors captured their second-ever Maryland state crown with a straight set (25-13, 25-22, 25-23) victory over the Thomas Johnson High School (Frederick, MD) Patriots on Monday night. In just his second year at the helm, McCarty brought the trophy home to his alma mater. The Montgomery County school won the title for the first time in 2006 under Tim Gilchrist and fell in the finals to Northern-Calvert in 1995.
The road to the state playoffs took the Warriors through the standard-bearer for Montgomery County girls’ volleyball in recent years, the Magruder High School (Derwood, MD) Colonels. The Colonels have dominated MCPS girls’ volleyball and handed Sherwood their only loss of the regular season. The two teams met in the 4A West Region semi-finals, where McCarty’s Warriors avenged their earlier setback, advancing in straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-22). On Tuesday night at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum, the Sherwood girls swept past Arundel High School in the semi-finals to advance to tonight’s title match in the same venue.
The arena was a sea of Sherwood blue and Thomas Johnson red. Busloads of kids from both schools had the place packed to the rafters. It had the feel of an NCAA championship. And when the raucous student section of the Patriots turned their crimson-clad backsÂ to the Warrior girls as they were being introduced, the Sherwood bench noticed the Duke-like snub. McCarty looked up at the Patriot student section and simply smiled. The stunt seemed to motivateÂ hisÂ Warriors, who came out fired up and rolled through the opening set, 25-13. The next two sets were much closer. The second set was tied at 19 before a late Sherwood spurt pulled it out, 25-22. Sherwood jumped out to a big lead in the final set only to see the game TJ squad battle back to within 23-22. But McCarty called a time out, calmed the Warriors down and watched his team close out the championship, 25-23.
The Warriors were led by senior Erin Brady and the tri-captains of junior Megan Hewitt, senior K.C. Emerson and super sophomore Alex “Boom” Holston. The six foot Holston has definite Division I potential. Just 15 and withÂ a gazelle-like 6’4″ wingspan, she was the go-to girl for the Warriors all match long, especiallyÂ in the clutch during those tight last two sets. With Holston, who is alsoÂ a hurdler on the trackÂ team, having two years left to mature and grow stronger before heading off to college, McCarty has the major building block in place to challenge for aÂ repeatÂ next year and fulfill those dynasty dreams. It’s a doubly sweet win for the third-year P.E. teacher at Kemp Mill Elementary School (Silver Spring, MD). He brings the volleyball 4A hardware home to his high school alma mater while winning it on the College Park campus of his university alma mater.
To see a slideshow of all my photographs from the evening, simply click here.
Congratulations to the entire Sherwood High School team!
|2||Melody Young||S, DS||Jr.||5-6|
|9||Alex Holston (C)||OPP, OH, S||So.||6-0|
|10||K.C. Emerson (C)||MH||Sr.||5-10|
|13||Sydney West||L, DS||Jr.||5-6|
|21||Dominique Parker||OH, OPP, MH||So.||6-0|
|26||Meredith Russell||MH, OPP||Sr.||5-10|
|28||Kiley Haberman||OH, OPP||Jr.||5-9|
|29||Megan Hewitt (C)||OH||Jr.||5-10|
|34||Morgan Mcalpin||OPP, MH||Jr.||6-1|
|44||Erin Brady||DS, L||Sr.||5-5|