For the majority of the second set Wednesday evening at St. John's Catholic Prep in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference semifinals, the Glenelg Country volleyball team was just as good as the powerful Vikings.
"We had a lot of ups and downs throughout the season, but today was a good showing for us," first-year coach Holly Cullum said. "When we have the whole team there we play really well."
The Dragons held leads of 14-10 and 20-18, and seemed on the verge of becoming just the second team this season to take a set from St. John's. But then junior Keili Terry stepped to the service line.
Terry rattled off six consecutive service points, including five aces, to give her team the win en route to a 25-8, 25-20, 25-9 victory and a ticket to the C Conference championship match — against the winner of St. Timothy's and Mount Carmel — on Friday at Roland Park.
"It was one of those things where we start making mistakes and then I think they stopped believing in themselves," said Cullum, who previously coached Mount Carmel to the C Conference finals in both 2004 and 2005. "Volleyball is a very mental sport, so once you lose confidence (it's over)."
Terry finished with 18 kills, nine aces and six digs, and Vikings setter Maddi Middeke finished with 23 assists.
"(Terry) is one of my top players, and she's been pivotal all year long," St. John's coach Kristie Fourcade said.
The Dragons were led by senior middle hitter Ogechi Nwodim, who finished with four kills and a point block, and freshman setter Sarah Gibney, who had six assists.
"We came together as a team and this was one if the best times that I saw us play, everyone was getting their hits over (in the second set)," Nwodim said. "I'm definitely going to miss playing with them."
It was the fourth time this season that Glenelg Country has played St. John's, including an encounter in the Dig Pink tournament at Anapolis Area Christian in mid-October. Undefeated St. John's won that eight-team tournament, and has lost only one set all season, to Maryland School for the Deaf.
In the opening round of the playoffs, Glenelg Country defeated Baltimore Luthern in five sets.
Despite Wednesday's loss, the season was a success for Cullum and the Dragons, who won only four matches a year ago. Glenelg Country defeated Friends, Oldfields (three times), Baltimore Lutheran and Beth T'Filoh during the regular season.
IAAM A Conference
Chapelgate finished its season in the A Conference, 1-8. The Yellowjackets' lone league win came against Bryn Mawr, 3-1. They also defeated Maryvale and Covenant Christian in non-league matches, and placed third at the preseason Shenandoah Tournament.
Chapelgate's season ended in the opening round of the playoffs with a 3-1 loss to John Carroll last Friday.