In a tournament so often won by C. Milton Wright and Havre de Grace in the last few years, it was Bel Air and Harford Tech squaring off Thursday in the Harford County boys volleyball championship.
In the end, the Bel Air squad came out with the county title, as the Bobcats, needing to beat the Cobras twice in a row in the championship round, topped Harford Tech, 25-18 and 25-20.
"Overall, both Bel Air and Harford Tech played exceptionally on both sides of the ball," C. Milton Wright head coach Rich Moyers, whose Mustangs made it to the tournament final last year, said. "Some rallies were only saved after full sprawls by multiple players and dug up for a single point. Some rallies were ended quickly by exploiting an overpass, but on the very next point, each down ball attempt was dug up. I personally believe that the eventual turning point was from the service line, which Bel Air just converted more by forcing Tech to return out of system."
Bel Air kicked off the tournament with a 25-15 victory over Aberdeen, then topped C. Milton Wright, 25-18, in the second round. The eventual title-game opponents met in the third round, and Harford Tech sent the Bobcats to the loser's bracket with a 25-22 defeat.
One loss away from elimination, the Bobcats beat Fallston, 25-12, which earned them a berth in the finals. Because Harford Tech had not lost heading into the championship round, the Cobras needed to win just once, while Bel Air had to take two games in a row.
Leading the Bobcats through the tournament was Tyler Norcross, who racked up 30 kills and kills and five aces. Jake Andrew posted 13 kills in the Bobcats six tournament matchups, while teammate Kyle Johnson had seven aces, five kills and 55 assists.
Harford Tech's Zack Valenti had 17 digs and two aces for the tournament, while Nick Waite had 15 kills and 10 blocks. Sean Paulsen put up 31 assists and three aces for the Cobras, while Hunter Norcross notched 16 kills, eight blocks and three digs. Josh Winter had four kills and two aces, while fellow Cobra Jarrett Booz had two kills and two blocks.