When the volleyball teams of Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills High metWednesday, each team figured the match would yield a progress reportas the season approaches its midpoint.
Neither team may have received a true reading.
Undefeated Hebron, the defending county and 2A champions, expected to win, but not by the lopsided 15-2, 15-8, 15-2 margin its home fans enjoyed.
Oakland Mills, meanwhile, filed out of Hebron's gym with a disturbing question to ponder: "We can't be this bad, can we?"
The Scorpions, who entered the season as one of the county's more promising teams, dropped their third decision in five matches. They were coming off a surprising defeat to Hammond. Unless they reverse their slide quickly, the Scorpions could find themselves watching the 2Aregional playoffs next month.
Hebron needed only 50 minutes to run its record to 5-0.
Granted, the Vikings tuned up for Friday's midseason showdown against Centennial with solid performances from eachof their starters. But Wednesday's match will be remembered mostly as one the Scorpions threw away.
Oakland Mills did all the self-destructive things that drive coaches crazy. The Scorpions were out of position often, allowing hittable serves and returns to find open spots on the floor. They were whistled for numerous carrying violations. Their passing at times was nonexistent. Add it all up, and the Scorpions surrendered too many easy points.
Even the second game, which ended with a respectable score, was a disguised rout. The Scorpions took their only lead of the match at 3-1, before Hebron ran off nine unanswered points. After that, the Scorpions never got closer than five.
"Maybe someone needs to set a fire underneath their (Scorpions)butts. They're not playing to their potential," said Oakland Mills coach Kathy Swingle, who questioned some of the carrying fouls called against her team.
"I have two setters who have each been called for one lift this year. I thought a lot of it didn't get called on the other side," she said. "But that doesn't explain us being out of position. It doesn't explain the poor play. It leaves a blank in my mind.I'm not counting out the rest of the season, but if they continue playing this way, the rest of the season won't be as optimistic as we wanted."
Hebron coach Jeannine McCrumb, whose Vikings won their 17th straight match dating back to last year and have dropped just one game this fall, was glad to see the Vikings win handily after what shecalled sloppy victories over Howard and Wilde Lake.
"We have to be consistent. We're very aware of becoming over-confident," said McCrumb.
"She (McCrumb) thinks we're going to peak too soon," said senior hitter Jen Dohler, who collected four kills and six aces against Oakland Mills. "I think we're more molded as a team than last year. We know each other better. We're definitely clicking."
The Vikings wasted little time in the opening game, which lasted 15 minutes. Theytook a 5-0 lead, stretched it to 8-2, then ran it to 12-2 after three aces by Angie Kress (five aces). With Dohler serving, Brooke Christopher turned a perfect set by Terry Porter (five kills) into an easy kill. Dohler served an ace to make it 14-2, and the Scorpions ended the game with a carrying violation.
After blowing open the second game with a nine-point run, the Vikings ran off to a 9-0 lead to startthe third game.
The Vikings like to say they are concentrating onone match at a time, but Centennial looms large in their minds. The Eagles blew Hebron out in an embarrassing three-game rout at midseason last year, and the Vikings used the defeat as a spark, as they haven't lost since.
The Vikings appear to be in good shape for their battle with the Eagles, who will probably be unbeaten when they come to Hebron Friday. The team is serving at an 87 percent success rate, is playing good defense in the front and back rows, and has seen numerous players emerge as offensive threats.
Junior setter Kai Scott has the best serve in the county. She has recorded 39 aces, a whopping40 percent of her serves. She also leads the team with 48 assists after her 10-assist effort against Oakland Mills.
Dohler has 22 acesand leads the team with 20 kills. Porter is second with 18 kills. Kress leads the team with 21 passing points. Senior setter Erin O'Donnell is second on the team with 38 assists.
volleyball squad still unchallenged after blowout