For Kristen Seeba and Jamie Rombach, Saturday night's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference volleyball final was more than just a championship game. It was also a shot at redemption.
Seeba contributed 20 kills and Rombach added another 15 as No. 2 Archbishop Spalding defeated No. 8 Mount de Sales, 25-20, 25-27, 17-25, 25-22, at Roland Park to release the Sailors' three-year strangle hold on the title.
"This feels amazing," said Seeba, whose Cavaliers lost in the title match last season. "We battled back after losing that third set. We played like champions. I am so proud of this team."
Spalding (18-0) led most of the first two sets, but the Sailors (11-2) came out determined to play their best volleyball in the third set. Trailing 9-6, Mount de Sales rallied behind the serving of Colleen Finely and two kills by Taylor Beaumont to take a 12-9 lead. The Sailors continued to increase the advantage, and took the set 25-17.
That's when Spalding coach Scott Rombach (Jamie's father) sprung into action.
"I told them we are playing to win," Scott Rombach said. "We are not playing not to lose. We pointed a few fingers in that game, but we settled down in the fourth game."
The Cavaliers used two kills by Katie Davis (seven kills) and one each by Seeba and Rombach to break a 10-10 tie and run the lead out to 17-14. The Sailors got two kills by Beaumont to tie the set at 20-20, but a block by Rombach and an ace by Jordan Lawson gave Spalding the set and the match.
"I've felt like we could do this all season, but I really started to think about it early on, when we beat Reservoir and Severna Park," Jamie Rombach said. "This is my senior year, so it's always great to go out on top."
The B Conference final was a thriller, as top-seeded John Carroll rallied from a 2-1deficit to defeat the second seeded Institute of Notre Dame, 23-25, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20, 15-13. It's the third consecutive B Conference title for the Patriots (14-4).
"It was a tight match, and we really didn't play as well as we should have," said John Carroll sophomore Briana Lockhart, who finished with 39 assists. "I think we held ourselves together a little better under the pressure, and that's why we won."
Libero Diamonique Purnell led the visiting Penguins (9-3), posting an .844 serve/receive percentage in 27 attempts.
"We knew they would be tough," Patriots coach Greg Cullison said. "We knew [Purnell] would be tough. We tried to take her out of the game, but we couldn't. We played good defense, and that was the difference."
In the C Conference final, top-seeded Catholic got eight kills from senior Brittany Winborne to sweep St. Timothy's, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18. The victory was the first ever IAAM title in volleyball for the Cubs (9-3). Alara Kocak led St. Tim's (7-2) with 17 kills.