Glen Burnie's Melani Scharf broke an ankle two days before the state volleyball playoffs in 1988. She anguished on the sidelines as the Gophers bowed to six-time state Class 4A champion Thomas Wootton.
Wootton wasn't around Saturday at Catonsville Community College, but Scharf was. The Gophers' senior captain helped her team to its first state title for coach Juanita Murdock-Milani. The Gophers defeated Oxon Hill, 16-14, 15-9, 15-6.
"I don't know if it was nerves, or what," said Scharf, trying to explain her team's first-game rally from a 13-2 deficit. "Mostly it was our passing game. We just didn't get the passes up to our setters.
"We got rolling after that and once we came back to win the first game, we knew we would win the state championship," Scharf said.
Murdock-Milani cited some other key factors, too.
"Linda Fannin, our setter, got us going," said the coach. "Linda was 28-for-29 on serves. Our whole team averaged 94 percent for service this season and came through again in the finals.
"Our big hitters got hot, too. Christy Hutson had 14 kills and Stacey Gilligan had 12."
The Gophers finished 17-1.
In Class 2A, Mount Hebron won its first state volleyball championship in four tries, downing North East-Cecil, 15-3, 15-5, 15-12. North East also lost in last year's finals.
Standouts for the Vikings (17-1) of coach Jeannine McCrumb included Brooke Christopher, Jen Dohler, Tracy Porter and Andrea Day. Setter Melissa Murdza served the match point after the Vikings had faltered in the third game of the best-of-five affair.