One team was the No. 1 seed, and the other was No. 4, but for most of the match, it was hard to tell which was which.
In the end, though, Liberty showed that it was the top seed in the Maryland Class 2 volleyball tournament. With a 15-13, 16-18, 15-6, 15-10 victory over Rockville last night at Parkville High School, the Lions advanced to the state championship game.
Liberty (16-2) will play Mount Hebron (15-3), which beat previously undefeated North Caroline, 15-13, 15-5, 15-8, in the other semifinal. The championship game will be at noon Saturday at Catonsville Community College.
The Liberty Lions were supposed to be there. But in the first two games last night, they hardly looked like champions.
"I think it was a combination of nerves and adrenalin," Liberty coach Helen Derwin said.
After settling down, the Lions easily won Game 3.
"I think that was our only strong game," Derwin said. "I told [the players] just to start focusing on each point. I said 'you know you can play.' "
In Game 4, the Lions struggled again, blowing a 10-3 lead, but they finally won the match on a booming spike by senior Kelly Foreman.
Mount Hebron also had to overcome a slow start to win its match. The Vikings played sloppily and fell behind 12-8 in the first game. But they pulled themselves -- emphasis on themselves -- together and they won that game.
"We've been improving because we're playing well as a team," Mount Hebron coach Jeannine McCrumb said. "They don't need me to tell them what they're doing wrong. They do it on their own. That's a sign that we're really jelling."
From the first-game comeback, the Vikings left little doubt in the next two.
Senior Jen Dohler served the final 10 points of Game 2. The Vikings broke up a tight game to pull away in Game 3 also.
"Once we get rolling, we're hard to stop," McCrumb said.