Even a defending state champion cannot afford to feel too confident early in the regional playoffs.
No. 5 Glenelg learned that lesson last night en route to a 15-6, 4-15, 15-1, 15-7 victory over visiting Oakland Mills in a Class 2A South quarterfinal volleyball match.
The Gladiators (13-3) meet Atholton in a South semifinal tomorrow night at Lackey High School in Charles County.
Last night, the defending state Class 2A champions ripped through the final seven points of the first game, but Oakland Mills (6-10) rallied with a convincing second-game win.
"They were probably a little too overconfident going into the second game and we just took advantage of it," said Oakland Mills coach Kim Rosado. "Then in the third game, maybe we were a little bit too overconfident and they took advantage of it."
In the second game, the Gladiators' usually solid defense failed them.
Strong serving by the Scorpions, all of whom serve at an 89 percent rate or better, gave the Gladiators trouble setting up their power offense. Glenelg managed just three kills in the game -- only one for a point and none from Elisa Davidson, who finished with a game-high 12 kills.
"They're a very good serving team," said Glenelg's Jaime Marshall. "Their floaters -- they got us on those big time."
For Oakland Mills, Karolina Michniewicz (two kills, three point blocks) registered her only kill of the game to tie the match.
After that, Glenelg wasted little time taking command. After a 1-1 tie opened the third game, the Gladiators reeled off the next 14 points.
The Scorpions mounted one last rally in the fourth game after Glenelg ran up a 10-3 lead. Lisa Skaggs (six kills) pounded down a Glenelg overpass to pull within 10-7, but the Scorpions could get no closer.
The Gladiators finished out the match on the serving of Cara Franklin, who was 27-for-28 with 11 aces in the match.
Although they lost to Glenelg twice during the regular season, the Scorpions came into last night's match with high hopes. They fell in four games in the first meeting and then in a tight 16-14, 15-10, 15-10 match last week.
"We felt like the third time's the charm," said Scorpions setter Dori Brain. "We were basically coming in with the upper hand. We were the underdogs, so we felt we had to work harder for it. I really felt like we could win, but we played well."
* Atholton 3, Hammond 0: Visiting Atholton (11-6) beat Hammond for the third time this season in a 2A South Region game. The Raiders' offense was led by Amanda Williams and Jennifer Ponzette.
* Centennial 3, Howard 0: Kristen Svehla went 11-for-12 serving with four aces and four kills in No. 1 Centennial's (20-1) shutout over Howard in a 3A East region game. Heather Tolkach added four aces on 14 of 15 serves. Meredith Price led with eight kills and Kelly West had seven for the Eagles.