2016 MIAA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONS
GILMAN SCHOOL GREYHOUNDS
Since Gilman School lost the MIAA volleyball title to Loyola Blakefield last fall, the Greyhounds wanted nothing more than get the championship back. The wait ended gloriously Friday evening for the Greyhounds who got revenge with a four-set victory (25-14, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20) over the Dons in an intense emotion-packed championship game at St. Paul’s School.
Outside hitter Charlie Darby played exceptionally well for Gilman, with 14 kills and 10 digs. The Greyhounds also received strong efforts from middle hitter Charlie Halpert (11 kills), outside hitter Will Harris (12 kills), libero Ben Murphy (13 digs) and setter Alex Bauman (18-for-18 serving).
Outside hitter Joey Staab (15 kills) and Alex Harmon (11 kills) led Loyola.
“Last year we lost that heartbreaker to Loyola we knew we had to work hard in the offseason so that we could get back here,” Darby said. “We’re warriors, we fight and I never lost confidence that we win this match.”
The Greyhounds impressive run of volleyball titles continue as Gilman captures its first volleyball championship since 2014.
The Dons came into the title match winners of their last nine contest which included a sweep of the Greyhounds at Gilman (15-2) one week ago tying the regular series at a game apiece. The top seeded Greyhounds got off to great start with kills two kills apiece from Darby and Harris giving the Greyhounds an early lead at 10-5. The big cushion continued to grow and the Greyhounds coasted to a first set win.
“Tonight we were just relaxed, we were having fun in warm-ups, we were loose and that comes with having so many seniors on this team,” Gilman second-year head coach Will Allenbach.
The second set was more closely contested as the Dons tighten things up. Loyola (14-4) and Gilman found themselves locked in a second that had 20 ties. Gilman trailed 22-21 due to a Staab kill, then finish off the set going a 3-1 run with an ace from Halpert and kills from Harris.
“We were just a little tired and slow tonight, we were just flat,” Loyola coach Tim Baier said. “Gilman came out and played the best game they played all season.
Riding high from the second set win, Gilman led midway through the third with 14-9 advantage with their sights set on the sweep. Loyola responded erasing the deficit with a 5-0 run and the set remained close until the final points. Tied 22-22, a Sam Clark kill in the middle of Greyhound defense, a Gilman error and a Logan Harvey block ended the third slowing the Greyhound’s momentum.
“We came out here and we did everything we needed to do,” Harris said. “Our confidence has been our kryptonite, but after we lost the third we rebounded and got back on track.”
Loyola raced out to a 6-3 lead in the fourth, but Gilman immediately countered going on a 6-2 run to take the lead. The Greyhounds never trailed after the run and put the Dons away for good and was join by the Gilman faithful who rushed the court moments after match point.
“We had a lot of pent-up emotion and that showed tonight with our guys and the crowd,” Allenbach said. “They guys worked so hard all year and I am very happy from them.