Halfway through the first game of Glenelg's Class 1A state semifinal with Colonel Richardson on Monday night, the Poolesville volleyball team got up and left Ritchie Coliseum in College Park.
Maybe team members thought they had seen enough. Glenelg, the No. 8 seed, was losing badly. Maybe the Falcons of Montgomery County thought they would be playing Colonel Richardson tomorrow night in the 1A state championship game.
But Glenelg rallied for a strong performance, winning, 16-25, 25-15, 25-5, 25-19, to set up tomorrow's meeting with Poolesville.
"If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on Poolesville," Glenelg coach Don Beale said of the matchup. "They're undefeated [17-0]. They're the No. 1 seed. We're 10-10 and No. 8. But I've got an inside track."
Beale knows how hard his team has worked this season and how tough the competition was for his Gladiators. They have come into the postseason just one win removed from a nine-game losing streak and with a 5-10 record, but they had yet to play another 1A team.
"We started the tournament 5-10, and it is the first losing season I've ever had at Glenelg," Beale said. "It was disappointing, but we're all on the same ship. We can't sink it. Everyone was doing their best. I told them to keep their eyes on the bigger picture. I don't think the teams in our region are as battle-tested as we are. I try to play a tough schedule and to play as many people as I can, so if someone gets injured the way they did last year [Glenelg lost its top two players before the championship game and finished runner-up], we can still compete."
Since the tournament started, Glenelg has turned its pre-tournament one-game winning streak into a six-game streak. The set it dropped Monday is the only one it has lost in the past six games. "It's a nice run, and I think we've got one more [win] in us," Beale said.
The Gladiators, three-time state champions, with their most recent title coming as a 2A school in 2005, are anchored by two juniors, Casey Schmidt and Hannah Gaw. Schmidt had 15 kills, 19 digs and 11 aces and Gaw had 25 assists in Monday's come-from-behind semifinal win.
Campanaro does it all
The River Hill football team recorded its sixth shutout of the season Friday, beating Glenelg, 41-0. But just as impressive as the play of the defense was the performance of all-everything back Michael Campanaro.
He ran for touchdowns of 1 and 41 yards. He returned an interception 76 yards for a touchdown. And he threw a 34-yard pass for a touchdown. It was quite a warm-up for tomorrow's first game of the 2A regional playoffs.
Long Reach just misses
The Long Reach Lightning football team is on the outside looking in at the playoffs, but the players are probably smiling in anticipation of next year.
The Lightning, mostly juniors and sophomores, finished the season on a five-game winning streak. Going into the last game against Hammond, Long Reach needed a win and for another team to lose to get a playoff berth. Long Reach won, 34-0, with junior Javaughn Walker adding to his team-leading touchdown total (16). But no team that Long Reach needed to lose did so.
Shutouts the River Hill football team has recorded this season. It is also the number of consecutive Howard County regular-season championships the Hawks have won, as well as their number of consecutive playoff appearances.
Yards Howard running back Mark Covington rushed for to help his team clinch a playoff berth in a 55-13 rout of Mount Hebron. He scored four touchdowns on runs of 5, 15, 34 and 50 yards.