EAST HANOVER _ Morristown-Beard athletic director Joanne Dzama withheld the information until the historic task was complete.
Dzama, no doubt, was proud when she informed volleyball coach Bella Galvez that the Crimson's 2-0 victory over Hanover Park on Oct. 3 was the first MCT volleyball triumph in school history.
"I had no idea," Galvez said after No. 18 Morristown-Beard's 25-23, 25-18 sweep of the 15th-seeded Hornets in preliminary-round action. "We're happy."
Three beaming seniors - Halia Rosemond, Hannah Guenther and Danielle Sclafani - were elated to defeat Hanover Park, which they lost to last week, 14-25, 25-23, 25-17. The Crimson (6-5) are accustomed to being overlooked so they were especially pleased to rally on Friday and take the first game en route to the win.
Guenther, an outside hitter, said it "was nice to leave a legacy."
Rosemond, also an outside hitter, mentioned that Morristown-Beard, whose next opponent will be second-seeded Roxbury, is "often the underdog because of our past."
"We're not taken seriously," added Guenther (3 kills, 4 digs).
The girls hope that opponents will view them differently from now on. They realize it's a small step but, yet, the accomplishment is huge.
"We focused and had confidence," said Sclafani, the libero. "We didn't get down. We wanted this."
Going three sets before losing to highly-regarded Jefferson on Thursday was the impetus for this match. The Crimson, who recieved 10 kills and four digs from Rosemond, still were revved up about pushing the Falcons to the limit.
"Jefferson came in thinking they'd win easily," Galvez said. "We played very, very well."
A pre-game snack - chocolate chip cookies baked by Galvez - pumped Morristown-Beard up. Galvez placed them on the scorer's table and her players devoured them. The Crimson then sank their teeth into the Falcons, giving them all they could handle.
That mindset endured Friday. Trailing 18-14, Morristown-Beard rebounded and prevailed in the opening game.
"Jefferson got us pumped up. The cookies pumped us up," Guenther said. "I had an off day the first time we played Hanover Park so this was personal for me. I wanted to play my hardest. I was so tired after the Jefferson game."
Galvez was upset when the Crimson faced the deficit in the opening game. During a timeout, she was tough in the huddle.
"I got mad," she said. "I lit a fire under them. We can't help what they do on their side but we can help what we do."
After that, Morristown-Beard kicked it into gear, going on an impressive 11-4 run. They were solid in the second game as well. It was evident that they were seeking respect.
"As a senior, this is exciting," Rosemond said. "We're leading the team. We came in confident and got better results. This game was more important because it was a county game."
Hanover Park (6-6) got into trouble by not communicating and making errors. The Hornets righted themselves in the second game but not enough to take control.
"The mistakes and errors are not typical," said Hanover Park coach Megan Wilson. "We began to play the way we're accustomed to in the second game but it was a little too late. We ultimately defeated ourselves."
Chino Anukwuem came up with some big kills for the Hornets.
Wilson was not present when Hanover Park dispatched the Crimson on Sept. 12 after breaking her pelvis in a boating accident. Tara Kelly coached the squad for that match. Wilson, still on the mend, is directing the team from a wheelchair.
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