After Five Straight Regional Titles, Perryville Volleyball Pushing for First State Championship


Few programs can boast the same amount of consistent success as Perryville's volleyball team.

The Panthers have reeled off five straight MPSSAA 1A East regional championships. Over that span, Perryville has reached the 1A state championship game three times.

"We've been very fortunate to have such a talented, hard-working, and committed group of players over the last several years. That is the reason for our success. They hold themselves to a high standard, and they show an honest concern for each other as teammates and friends," head coach Matt Borrelli said. "Due to our success in previous postseasons, we have a lot of confidence and belief in our team each year."

This year should be no different, as Perryville is entering the state tournament as one of the main contenders to win the championship. The team is 12-2 (not counting tournament games) and of the team's 12 wins, 10 have been in straight sets.

It's an experienced bunch, with eight seniors and four juniors on the roster. While the team has multiple strengths, much of the team's offense has been funneled through its middle hitters, specifically senior captains Gabby Goodnow and Terri Wennersten. Goodnow leads the team with 175 kills and 64 blocks, while also contributing 134 digs. Wennnersten has been key for the Panthers as well, scoring 126 kills and chipping in 30 blocks.

Senior Rose Porch, another captain and the team's setter, has been in fine form, with a team-high 359 assists, as well as 156 digs. Junior libero Hailey Jones has also been excellent, leading the team with 250 digs. She also has 114 serving points and 34 aces.

The team's most effective servers have been its defensive specialists, senior Erin Murphy and junior Brooke Reynolds. Murphy has 159 serving points, the most on the team, as well as 109 digs, while Reynolds has 134 serving points, 33 aces and 145 digs.

"We have our normal ups and downs just like any other team," Borrelli said. "I think we just have a great group of players who have a lot of experience playing together, and that helps us persevere during difficult matches."

The Panthers' only losses this year have come against Cecil County rival Rising Sun, which will be competing at the 2A level for the state tournament. It's a team that Borrelli says could be the best team in the state regardless of classification- from top to bottom, every girl on their team can play, and they all work well together.

Although Perryville would've loved to have won one of the team's match-ups, Borrelli acknowledges the team has benefited from facing Rising Sun so often.

"By playing against them three times (includes tournament game) this year, we have been able to identify the weaknesses we have as a team," Borrelli said. "We have been working on those issues during practice to help us prepare for playoffs."

Perryville's postseason journey begins with Bohemia Manor on Nov. 9, a group Borrelli referred to as consistently one of the toughest and well-coached teams in the region 1A East region.

Although the team is viewing the tournament on a game by game basis, it doesn't mean the group hasn't thought briefly about what winning a state title would mean for Perryville's volleyball program. For all the Panthers' success in recent year, the team has still never won a state title- Perryville hopes to change that over the next few weeks.

"Ultimately, our goal is to win a state championship. We have experienced a lot of success in recent years, but we haven't reached our ultimate goal yet," Borrelli said. "Our team, especially our seniors, have worked so hard and are determined to win it all this year. A state championship would mean everything to us."
November 8th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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