Gaithersburg tops Dulaney for 4A title

In three games, Trojans deal Lions first loss


High Schools


COLLEGE PARK -- One of the strengths of Dulaney's unbeaten run to the state final, its serving, sputtered last night and helped a more balanced Gaithersburg team come away with the Class 4A championship.

The No. 5 Lions missed 11 serves, including six in the pivotal second game, falling to first-time champ and unbeaten Gaithersburg, 25-16, 25-16, 25-21, at Ritchie Coliseum.

Midway through the second game, the Lions (18-1) hung within five points of the Trojans (19-0) despite missing five serves. After they missed a sixth serve to put the Trojans up 21-15, Gaithersburg allowed the Lions just one more point in the game.

The Lions then opened the third game with their only lead in the match, 2-0. They were tied at 8-8 and pulled within 21-20 on a Marah Schmitz kill, but Trojans hitter Kaitlin Straiter slammed a kill and served an ace to give the Trojans their final boost of momentum. Setter Amanda Krampf put up a terrific set off a poor pass that Sara Fillmore finished to polish off the match.

By the time they reached the third game, the Lions were struggling to stay in the match against a Gaithersburg squad that showed more power and more poise throughout. Straiter and Fillmore, a pair of 6-foot outside hitters, combined for 15 kills. Fillmore had five in the third game.

But rusty serving doomed the Lions.

"It was definitely concentration," said Schmitz, who had a match-high 12 kills. "This was a big gym, their cheering section was three times the size of ours, and I think we were so intimidated when we had to serve on that side of the court. We were so scared, we were just throwing the ball up and seeing if it goes in."

The Baltimore County champion Lions also got five kills from Chelsea Manning and four from Stacey McWilliams. Setter Allison Kilchenstein had 24 assists.

At the beginning of the season, Lions coach Cary Lyon said he didn't expect his team to be in the state final, but he saw the potential for it to compete for a third title in their history.

"I thought we could because I knew if we learned what we're coaching them to do we can beat anybody," Lyon said. "If you serve and pass well, you can beat anybody."

The Trojans, a Montgomery County team that had not reached the title match in three previous trips to the state tournament, had 12 service errors, but their passing made life easy with a variety of options in Straiter and Fillmore on the outside and Erin Mason (four kills) in the middle.

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