COLLEGE PARK—The Magruder High School girls volleyball team entered the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) 3A Girls Volleyball State Championship with a scorching hot 23-0 record, having won their county division regular season title and the 3A West Region II championship.
On Nov. 16, the Colonels faced Northern High School, who was also undefeated, at Richie Coliseum at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Patriots took the first set (25-15), but Magruder settled down to win the next three sets (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) in spectacular fashion to win the first girls volleyball title in school history.
“Being a starter for four years, you always say, ‘It’s this year, we’re going to make it,’” Colonels senior Maya Scott said. “I didn’t really have that feeling with our former teams. I think, as a team this year, we had better chemistry. We all worked hard.”
The Northern fans went crazy as the team dominated the first set, thanks to multiple kills, from senior Shannon Salo, and a series of service and hitting errors from Magruder.
Nevertheless, the Colonels regained momentum in the second set and did not stop from there. Scott dominated during the bounce-back effort by Magruder after the first set, finishing the match with 24 total kills, including the championship-winning kill, and one ace. The senior credits her teammate and setter, senior Tonessa Jhigory for her performance.
“I wouldn’t be able to have all my kills without my setter,” said Scott.
Scott is a four-year starter, as well as a two-time all-county selection who recently accepted an athletic scholarship to Hampton University. The Colonel star saved her best game for when it mattered most, scoring the set-winning kills in the second and third sets as well.
In the fourth set, Magruder took an early 3-0 lead, but not until the Patriots started to catch up and go ahead 7-6.
Nevertheless, the Colonels regrouped to retake the lead as Scott hit the last three kills to give Head Coach Scott Zanni’s squad their first girls volleyball title to celebrate in front of their loyal fans who traveled to College Park.
“Being able to get the last kill of my senior year at states, and being able to give Zanni his first title,” said Scott, “I don’t know what the feeling was. It was more of a numbness. ‘Just hit the ball down, let’s get this over with. Stop playing with them.’”
Zanni felt proud of how his team made it this far, but did not credit himself with leading his group of girls. The credit went to the players. One example was senior Kaliyah Moss, who had the second most kills with 15, capping off a memorable senior year with a title. Moss was 1st Team All-County in 10th and 11th grade. The Magruder senior outside hitter also holds several school records, including every single season and career school record in attacking and blocking.
Two other Colonels who helped out with the victory were senior Sarah Schnaupp, who had four kills and three aces, and sophomore Joie Allen, who had six kills.
“They led this year,” said Zanni. “I have yet to play a point in 25 years I’ve coached, so I think all the credit goes to them.”
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ top scorer was junior Allie Droneburger with eight kills. Despite losing the title game, Northern Head Coach Bobby Gibbons was proud of how competitive his team played against another undefeated team.
“It was fantastic,” said Gibbons. “I had the best seat in the house. I got to watch this group of girls come to work every day, I get to see them do the things they love, and I get to see them do it together.”