Centennial jumped on unbeaten Mount Hebron early, which only compounded the pressures of last night for the area's No. 2-ranked team.
When it was over, the No. 4-ranked Eagles had overwhelmed the visitors in winning the Class 2A South championship, 15-11, 15-8, 15-12.
For Centennial (15-3), a state champion the last two years, it was a matter of playing with confidence, and the farther the match went, the more confident the Eagles became.
Such was the domination that Mount Hebron (18-1) led only four times, twice in the first game and twice in the third, but no deeper in a game than 6-4. During the regular season, the Vikings had won the matchups 3-2 (after being down 1-2) and 3-0.
The state semifinals will be played next Tuesday (Classes 1A and 4A) and Wednesday (2A and 3A) at Essex Community College.
"We were intense, and knew what we had to do," said Lisa Chapman, one of three seniors on coach Michael Bossom's squad. "Because of our experience, I think we were less nervous and more confident [than the opposition]."
Vikings coach Kedre Fairley summed up that situation.
"We had pressure from every aspect: 18-0, playing at Centennial, county champions, a young team that had not been this far. Still, our goal was to win it in three, and we put that on ourselves."
From a 6-6 tie in the first game, Chapman recorded five straight service points, but Mount Hebron came back to within 11-10. The Eagles closed out the game, with sophomore Carolyn Dougherty collecting two service points. Lindsay Feller, a 6-foot freshman, contributed two key blocks.
With junior Kim Emrich and Chapman combining for seven service points, Centennial rolled to a 10-1 lead in the second game. From a 7-7 tie in the third game, the home team methodically mustered its points for a 14-9 margin, before the Vikings drew within 14-12.
Sophomore Megan Horst put a serve in, and, on the return, Chapman set Beth Stradling on the outside, and she found an open spot in the middle for the final point.
"We talked about the earlier matches and looked at films, so we kind of knew where they'd be, and we went for certain spots," said Stradling. "You always want to stay ahead, because when you're winning, you play better. When you're losing, you play with anxiety."
Senior Julie Taury, who had some excellent hits from the outside, pointed out that "if we hadn't jumped on them real fast, you don't know how it would have gone. We had to show them we were Centennial volleyball."
No. 1 Severna Park 3, Westminster 1. The Falcons dominated the middle on 12 kills from Traci Sariscak and seven from Lauren Bessire en route to a 8-15, 15-9, 15-12, 15-5 victory for the Class 4A South region title. Lauren Boyd had 30 assists for the Falcons (17-1), and Abbie Cornett had 14 kills for the Owls (8-9).
No. 3 Dulaney 3, Western 1. Teresa Graham and Melaney Heagy had 10 kills each to lead the Lions (17-0) to a 12-15, 15-7, 15-9, 15-4 victory for the Class 4A North region crown. Selina Gaskins had nine kills for the Doves (16-2).
C. Milton Wright 3, Bel Air 0. During the regular season, the Mustangs (12-5) beat the Bobcats (11-7) in fifth-set rally scoring, but they had an easier time winning the Class 3A North title, 15-13, 15-3, 15-8. Myesha Douglas had eight kills for the host Mustangs.
Thomas Johnson 3, Liberty 2. Abby Barnett had 32 kills and Theresea Jason had 44 assists, but the Lions (12-5) lost a 2-hour, 20-minute nail-biter, 16-14, 11-15, 9-15, 15-7, 16-14, to the Patriots (15-3) in the Class 3A West final.
North East 3, No. 6 Loch Raven 1. Jill Bishop had 17 kills, but the host Raiders (15-3) could not repeat as regional champs, falling, 17-15, 15-6, 3-15, 15-10 to the Cecil County school (18-0) in Class 2A North. Leah Runyan had 29 assists.
Hereford 3, Sparrows Point 0: The Bulls (17-2) swept the Pointers, 15-12, 15-8, 15-5, for the Class 1A North title. Erin Barnes had six kills and Erin McElvaney, five while setter Stacey Ensor contributed 14 assists for the Bulls.
Pub Date: 11/14/98