Skipjacks make strides in volleyball return

WYE MILLS – Their season may have been absent wins, but it wasn't absent hope.

Chesapeake College made its return to women's volleyball this fall with a 0-12 record, but the all-freshman Skipjacks were competitive with the lower half of the league.  The Skipjacks took three teams – CCBC-Essex, Cecil College, and Baltimore City Community College – to four games and nearly extended BCCC to a decisive fifth game while building for the future.

"Of course, it would have been nice if we were able to pull off a win in one of those matches," said Michelle Dennis, the Skipjacks' first-year head coach.  "Given the inexperience of the players we had, I thought we did well.  They improved a lot over the course of the season – the hitting got better, the passing got better, and the blocking got better.  Although sometimes things broke down at the end, we hung in there."

The BCCC match was by far the Skipjacks' most competitive of the year as the Panthers (3-19 overall, 1-10 league) had to rally for a 20-25, 25-18, 25-20, and 25-23 victory.  Montana Dye (seven kills), Sydney Butler (five kills, four aces) and Carla Marfe (two kills, four aces) kept Chesapeake close, but Baltimore City's advantage in hitting (22-16 edge in kills and only eight hitting errors to 15 for the Skipjacks) proved to be the difference.

"They played well as a team and came together," said Dennis of the BCCC match.  "Down the stretch, I think they got tired."

While the Skipjacks weren't a league contender, they had several players place among league leaders in various categories.  Butler was eighth in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference in blocks per set (0.66), 13th in assists per set (0.86), and 25th in kills per set (1.34).  Teammate Jaelyn Brice was 11th in blocks per set (0.59) while Dye was 13th in aces per set (0.59). Marfe was 14th in the conference in assists per set (0.79).

"Jaelyn came along and put up a big block for us," said Dennis.  "Sydney and Montana helped out in just about every phase of the game.  Sydney probably would have done a little bit better hitting-wise if we'd had a setter and didn't have to use her there at times."

Finding an experienced setter is Job 1 in off-season recruiting, according to Dennis.

"Looking to next year, we really need to find a setter.  We did not have a true setter this year," said Dennis, who used a variety of players in the setting position.