ROCKVILLE — Magruder Colonels junior middle hitter Kaliyah Moss had a dominant performance Monday in her team’s three-sets-to-none victory over the visiting Northwood Gladiators.
Moss, who earned first team All-County honors last season, was phenomenal against the Gladiators. The Division I prospect led Magruder to a 25-10, 25-10, 25-10 win over Northwood.
“She’s very versatile,” said Northwood head coach Phuong Tat. “They can move her outside. She can hit in the middle. She looks like a volleyball player and that’s why she’s able to do so many things.”
Magruder dominated the first set by jumping out to a 17-7 advantage behind Moss’s outstanding performance. The Colonels played well in the second stanza before cruising to victory. Magruder rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the third set en route to a commanding victory over the Gladiators who were seeking their first win.
Magruder head coach Scott Zanni has built the program into a powerhouse with 11 Montgomery County titles; the Colonels have also amassed three region titles and made two state finals appearances.
What’s more, the Magruder volleyball program has captured 12 Magruder High School Invitational Championships and won eight MCPS Sportsmanship Awards over the years.
“They’re a solid team,” said Tat. “This program’s always solid and what’s really different about this team is they can really utilize their middles. It’s something that this county is missing a lot and they’re one of the rare teams that can really utilize their middle really well.”
Northwest, Richard Montgomery and Churchill are among the top volleyball programs in Montgomery County and along with Magruder should also contend for a state championship this year.
The Colonels also boast talented junior outside hitter Maya Scott who missed Monday’s match due to injury. However, she’s expected to return to the lineup next week.
“We missed her a lot,” said Moss, one of four team captains on the squad. “I don’t want anybody on the team to be injured or sitting down and she sat down. She’s one of our most important players so it was pretty upsetting.”
Moss and Scott are both elite student-athletes who have been named to the American Coaches Volleyball Association Phenom list of the top underclassmen volleyball players in the United States.
“She does everything,” Zanni said about Scott. “She hits, passes, plays defense.”
Magruder remained unbeaten at 12-0 and has a tough road ahead; the Colonels are scheduled to compete against County rivals such as Blair, Sherwood, Gaithersburg and Damascus along with the likes of non-county opponents such as North Hagerstown and Georgetown Visitation.
“We’ve got tough matches coming up,” said Zanni. “We’ve got to play Blair and Sherwood. We have a great match against North Hagerstown up there. They’re a state power. That will be a real good match. We’ve got Gaithersburg and Damascus left on the schedule so we’ve got some real good matches coming up.”
Besides Moss and Scott, the Colonels also boast talented senior leaders in Kira Ng, Nichole Bright, Lindsay Nyunja and Samantha Sager.
The ultimate goal is to end up playing for a state championship at Ritchie Coliseum.
“We’re going to be playing a lot of hard teams along the way,” said Moss, “but I think we have a chance.”