Hereford's volleyball team had to wait nine years to get back to the state semifinals. The Bulls did it Friday night, sweeping Loch Raven, 25-15, 25-13, 25-12, in the Class 2A North Region championship in Towson.
"I thought we played well all year and I think its a great opportunity for our kids," Hereford second-year coach Dave Schreiner said. "It doesn't come around that often. It feels pretty good."
Senior setter LeAnne Collins (12 digs, 7 kills, 3 aces), senior outside hitters Kelly Cavey (10 digs, 5 kills) and Kaja Bibaud (8 kills, 3 aces), junior defensive specialist Caprice Roche (9 digs) and freshman opposite hitter Erin Collins (8 kills) had standout performances for the Bulls, which trailed only at the beginning of the third set.
Hereford was missing senior middle hitter Hana Tankersley because she suffered an ankle injury in practice Thursday.
"Taylor Anne Jones came in and did a nice job," Schreiner said.
Hereford jumped out to a 8-3 lead in the first set, but Loch Raven (9-5) fought back to cut the margin to 10-8 before the Bulls seized control.
Loch Raven led in the second set, 3-0, and there were three ties. Hereford went ahead for good, 8-7, on a Raiders' violation. LeAnne Collins served eight straight points late, and the Bulls rolled.
The second set seemed to frustrate Loch Raven and lift Hereford.
The Bulls didn't meet that much resistance in the third set, which ended with them going on an 8-2 run.
"We were probably a little stronger up front," Schreiner said. "Our kids played really well. They played smart and we got the runs we needed."
Senior middle hitter Courtney Genovese (8 kills) and senior setter Kayla Brown (18 assists, 4 aces) led Loch Raven.
"I think we were a little overmatched," said Loch Raven coach Matthew Smith, whose team was denied making its third straight trip to the state semifinals. "We started out a little rough. I think the moment kind of got to them, being in the regional final. I think once we got the pre-game jitters out, we came around."