It didn't take long for Oakland Mills to figure out that Smithsburg, its opponent in last night's Class 1A state semifinal volleyball match, was for real.
"We had heard Smithsburg was very good," Oakland Mills senior Carrie Sniffen said. "We saw them hit during warm-ups and they shook us up a little bit. We hadn't seen anything like that before."
It was over in 40 minutes. After a slow start, Smithsburg won 30 straight points to end the match, 15-8, 15-4, 15-0, at the CCBC-Essex.
"Toward the middle of the match we stopped playing as a team," said Oakland Mills junior setter Andrea Griffin. "It was them being very good, and us getting down on ourselves."
The 14th-ranked Scorpions (13-6) took a 4-0 lead in the second game on an ace from middle hitter Rayna DuBose. That was their last point of the match. Oakland Mills served twice more in the second game, and only three times in the final game.
"We just weren't on," Sniffen said. "We didn't come together as a team. Our serving was on, but our blocking wasn't there and neither was our coverage."
Smithsburg's Katy Powell served out the final 12 points of the second game, then ran off the first five points of the third game.
Smithsburg (17-1), which won the Class 1A title two years ago, has three strong hitters the Scorpions couldn't stop. Heather Ashley led the Leopards with 13 kills and Lauren Richards and Michelle Feiser had 10 and nine, respectively.
"They have a lot of weapons," said Oakland Mills coach Kim Rosado. "We were completely taken out of our game. My girls didn't move like they can. It's like their feet were in cement sometimes."
While the Scorpions were disappointed in their play last night, they took pride in the fact that this year's team was the school's best ever, and the first to reach the state tournament.
"It was a very good season. It was wonderful," Griffin said. "I've never been on a team like this. We were so happy to get this far. I don't think anything could spoil the season."
Added Rosado: "I'm very proud of this team. This was an Oakland Mills first. They deserve all the accolades they've gotten."