After a close third game, Mount Hebron swept North East (Cecil County) in the best of five series to win its first Class 2A state volleyball championship yesterday at Catonsville Community College.
It was the fourth time the Vikings reached the state tournament, and the first time they have reached the finals since 1982. North East has appeared in the tournament ten times and was runner-up for the second straight year.
Hebron (17-1) won the first two games fairly easily, 15-3 and 15-5. However, North East (14-4) put up a struggle in the third.
"Things really flowed for us in the first two games," said Brooke Christopher, a Hebron junior. "We had some subs come in the third game who were cold coming off the bench. Our defense held us together."
While North East served the ball 13 times, it scored only three points. Christopher, who played very well above the net, fired two kill shots and had several blocks on defense. Jen Dohler also keyed the defense and served five points, including the final three.
North East took a 5-3 lead in game two, but Hebron coach Jeannine McCrumb called a timeout and the Vikings were able to regroup. Tracy Porter and Andrea Day led the defense in the front line and Dohler scored on five straight serves.
"They didn't have any players who really stood out on their team," McCrumb said. "With our kids, if someone is not producing, someone else will usually fill in."
After falling behind, 10-2, in game three, North East launched a run which tied the gamed at 11 then took a 12-11 lead. Day then served and tied the game on a block by Cescili Drake and served two more points to make the score 14-12. Melissa Murdza then served the game point, giving Hebron the 15-12 win.
"We attacked enough, but our aggressiveness was our downfall," said North East coach Catherine Farrell. "I think we have just as many good hitters as they do."
North Caroline swept Williamsport in three intense games -- 16-14, 15-10 and 15-13 -- to win the Class 1A state title.
After falling behind 11-3 in game one, the Bulldogs came back to tie the score at 14-14 before going on to win. The second game was also a battle, while the third featured another comeback. North Caroline overcame a 10-5 Wildcats lead to win 15-13 with 6-foot-2 sophomore Carla Houser scoring five unanswered points in the end.
Northern (Calvert County) used its height advantage to take Rockville in three straight to win the Class 3A state title and finish the season undefeated.
After a 15-7 win in the first contest, Northern jumped out to a 7-0 lead in game two. Northern then allowed Rockville to tie the game at nine each before going on to win, 15-9. The Rams came back again in game three, from 7-2 to 10-9, before the Patriots managed game point at 15-10.