COLLEGE PARK - Towson's No. 2 volleyball team left the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum last night without a state title, but not without a sense of accomplishment.
After all, there were no stars on this team, just a group of former role players who stepped to the forefront together and went unbeaten in match play until they ran into Calvert last night. The Cavaliers (19-0) ended the Generals' hopes for a second state crown in two years with a 25-18, 25-20, 25-16 victory in last night's Class 3A final.
"No one gave us any credit at the beginning of the season and I think that really got to them," said Towson coach Jayne Lacy. "For them to come out and, at this point, be 19-0 and lose in the state finals; I don't think anybody really thought we'd make it this far. It's to their credit and their hard work and dedication that we got this far. I'm really proud of them."
Calvert's Cavaliers, who set themselves up as the early favorites by winning the prestigious Bulldog Tournament at North Caroline in October, lost only two games all season. Last night, they took advantage of a lot of Towson errors, especially on serve receive, to sweep the match - the only one of the four state finals not to go to five games.
The Generals (19-1) got themselves in trouble early with a lot of difficulty passing. Without an accurate passing game, they struggled with their offense and spent most of the match playing defense.
"It all starts with passing," said junior Kellie Krouse, who led the Generals with 10 kills. "But we've never seen serves like that. They were floaters."
Calvert coach David Redden said he has had a strong serving team all season long.
"One of the big things we focus on is make sure we serve tough the entire time," said Redden. "We try to serve a floater, because it's like facing a knuckleball from a pitcher," said Redden. "It dances on you. You're expecting it to go one way and it goes another way."
The Cavaliers got a quick lead in each game and maintained it throughout.
In addition to their passing, the Cavaliers had a strong attack led by 6-foot-1 middle hitter Whitney Johnson with 10 kills and 5-9 outside hitter Dawn Herring with seven.
For the Generals, the loss could not diminish a season in which they won a third straight Baltimore County championship and extended their run of state final appearances to three. They did just as well as last season when they arrived at the title match unbeaten only to fall to No. 1 Glenelg.
This year's team, led by Krouse and seniors Emmy Williams (17 assists last night), Teri Stolarz, Laura Maas, Christine Savell, Liz Kilduff and Kelly Gunning, relished that success.
"We are so happy with our season," said Krouse. "When we lost our seniors last year, coming into this year it was all about us. It's sad, but we are so proud of ourselves. Just getting here is awesome - whatever we did here."