Loch Raven's first dose of Carroll County volleyball in a Class 2A state semifinal was anything but delightful.
Until the Raiders clashed with Century on Wednesday night at the University of Maryland's Richie Coliseum, they were having an outstanding season, going 14-3 and reaching the state final four for the first time since 2006.
Then came No. 6 Century, which was making its first state semifinal appearance in school history.
The Knights (17-1) continued their exceptional run with a 25-11, 23-25, 25-10, 25-11 victory.
The win sent Century to the final against defending state champion Fallston on Saturday at noon at the same site.
"This will be our first trip to the state finals and we were very, very excited," Century coach Becky Groves said. "I don't like the way we played in the second game. We can't do that against Fallston."
Senior outside hitter Abby Thrift (27 kills, 10 digs), and Thrift's sister, sophomore setter Hailey (43 assists), and senior outside
hitter Morgan Thomas (11 kills, 13 digs) led Century.
Senior setter Devin Herlihy (13 assists) and senior middle blocker Caroline Stanka (9 kills, 5 digs) had the best performances for Loch Raven.
Century began the first game with a 7-1 run behind the serving of Haley Bordner and Thomas.
After a Loch Raven timeout, the Raiders trimmed the lead to 8-5 before the Knights closed with a 17-6 spurt.
Loch Raven bolted to a 14-6 lead in game two and then held on as the Knights' rally fell short.
In the third game, Century ran off to a 12-3 lead behind the hitting of 5-foot-10 Abby Thrift, who had 11 kills.
Century met little resistance in the final game, bolting to an 8-1 lead on its way to finishing off the Raiders.
"They are a pretty good team all the way around," Loch Raven first-year coach Matthew Smith said. "They don't let the ball hit the floor, and it makes it tough. I have three seniors that play club, but I am assuming they have multiple girls that play year-round."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun