Loch Raven’s visit to the Class 2A state semifinals didn’t last long. Forty-six minutes after opening introductions, the Raiders had to fight back tears as they walked off the court.
They were ushered out quickly by Williamsport, 25-4, 25-5, 25-7, Tuesday at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum.
“We were really overmatched,” said second-year coach Matt Smith, whose program was making its second straight appearance after a four-year absence. “Williamsport was faster, taller. It’s pretty evident by the stats.”
Williamsport (18-1) advances to play the North Caroline-Calvert winner Monday at 6 p.m. in College Park. The Wildcats will be gunning for their fifth state title in 13 years under Emily Crabtree. They’ve won 12 overall, the second most in the 36-year history of the tournament.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the year and we knew we could achieve it,” Crabtree said. “The girls have working really hard and we proved it by how forceful we were tonight.”
Senior Stacey Christy, a 6-foot-2 middle hitter and Virginia Tech University recruit, led the winners with 14 kills.
“If I had a girl like that, I would give her the green light, too,” Smith said.
Junior setter Emily Taylor (18 assists) also shined for the Wildcats.
Junior setter Kayla Brown and junior outside hitter Alysha Holmes finished with five digs apiece for Loch Raven (11-7).
Williamsport jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set behind three kills from Christy.
Smith called a time out after that spurt, but it didn’t do that much to slow down the Wildcats’ momentum. Williamsport closed with 24-4 run.
The Wildcats ran off the first seven points in the second set thanks to the serving of Taylor. Loch Raven trimmed the lead to 9-3 before Williamsport scored 15 straight points.
Williamsport met little resistance in the third set, which ended with six straight service winners by Courtney Malott.
Despite the lopsided loss, Smith said his Raiders can achieve more next year since they graduate only two players, Adriana Spriggs and Miranda Szabelski.
“We have been to Maryland the last two years and I am tired of losing,” Smith said. “I hope the girls can take some things away from states. It’s time to set the bar higher and get our girls a little hungrier.”