Howard volleyball coach Grant Scott is by no means on the back end of his coaching career, but he has been around long enough to learn a thing or two about Howard County volleyball.
But it wasn't until Tuesday night that Scott and his Lions finally managed to beat 14-time state champion Centennial.
"I've always had horses, but not enough to win it all," Scott said. "I've been with the volleyball program for 15 years. I've beaten every school two or three times, but I've never beaten Centennial."
Not only did the Lions beat Centennial, they swept them, 25-18, 25-17, 26-24.
"They've been the best team in Howard County for the past few years and we knew that they were going to come out strong, and we knew that they had big hitters just like us," said senior Sydney Biniak, who finished with a match-high 16 kills. "We definitely wanted to win this in three because we know that anything can happen in the fourth and fifth set."
Centennial trailed 24-15 in the third set before junior captain Meghan Kelley (team-high six kills) stepped to the service line and served eight straight points to tie it at 24-24. But after a double touch, Howard's Courtney Merson served an ace for match-point.
"They were in control the whole time," Centennial coach Larry Schofield said. "Our back row defense has got to get better. Sydney is going to get her points, we just have to keep everyone else from getting points and we didn't do a very good job of that. We've got a week to fix that before we play anybody again."
Howard, which became Howard County's first Class 4A school this fall, defeated St. John's College High School on Saturday in four sets.
"They were amazing, and going down there and winning that match, two of the games went beyond 25, they three girls six-foot and up, a big lefty opposite, that set us up for today," Scott said. "I scheduled that match intentionally to give us a challenge to set us up for this."
Sept. 9 results
Oakland Mills 3, Atholton 1 (25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 26-24)
Reservoir 3, Archbishop Spalding 0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-23)
Sept. 7 result
Howard 3, St. John's College 1 (28-26, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24)
Sept. 6 results
Oakland Mills 3, Lansdowne 0 (25-13, 25-7, 25-6)
Archbishop Spalding 3, Wilde Lake 1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23)
Dulaney 3, Mt. Hebron 0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-20)
South River 3, Atholton 0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-23)