Mt. Hebron coach Michael Moynihan has seen enough volleyball matches to know the difference between a good loss and a bad loss.
After his Vikings lost in three sets — 25-16, 25-22, 25-15 — at Howard Thursday evening, Moynihan knew that there wasn't much to ruminate about.
"When you go into a game there are three possible outcomes: you can lose, you can win, or you can get beat," Moynihan said. "We got beat, we didn't lose, they played better than us today, I'm OK with that. And we don't have to play them again."
Both teams were 7-1 coming into the match, and Howard is now tied with Glenelg and River Hill, who also each have only one loss, for first place in Howard County.
The Vikings led, 13-12 in the first set and 7-5 in the second set, but for the most part, the Lions dominated on their home court.
"My offense clicked ... the defense and passing did well enough to let my offense click and that's what I need," coach Grant Scott said. "My offense is fast and powerful if I can get my setter the ball, and that's what we did."
Howard junior setter Hanna Webster recorded 26 assists, spreading the ball to Sydney Biniak (10 kills), Courtney Merson (9), Maya Hairston (8) and Allison Holland (4).
"We've really developed a dynamic with our setter, Hanna, and Sydney is always there to back us up," Hairston said. "The fact that Hanna is setting us more and opening Syd up is really good."
Merson, who also collected three point blocks and two aces, ran wild in the third set, tallying five kills and a block to put the Lions ahead 12-3, prompting a Mt. Hebron time out.
"She has gotten so good," Hairston said. "She is just on fire and I am so proud of her."
Howard had previously defeated Mt. Hebron in the semifinals of the Thomas Johnson tournament, which the Lions won.
"I was excited and nervous about this because we played them at the tournament and beat them pretty easily, and I knew that they were going to be ready to play ball," Scott said.
Mt. Hebron was led by Ravyn Richardson (9 kills), Reeana Richardson (6 kills, 2 point blocks) and Meg Ross (5 kills). Marissa Duncan added three point blocks.
Howard libero Lizzie Berg contributed 16 digs.
Around the league
Centennial 3, Marriotts Ridge 0
Glenelg 3, Hammond 0
The Gladiators were led by Rachael Girard (21 assists, 12 aces), Morgan Perry (10 kills, 4 digs), Sarah Girard (8 kills, 12 digs), Julia Berry (10 digs) and Molly Calvert (6 kills, 6 aces) in a three-set sweep (25-8, 25-4, 25-10).
Reservoir 3, Long Reach 0
The Gators got strong performances from Hannah Pinion (9 kills), Caroline Winand (4 kills, 10 digs) and Paige Foley (14 assists) in a 25-12, 25-18, 25-22 win.
River Hill 3, Atholton 0
The Hawks swept the Raiders, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15.
Wilde Lake 3, Oakland Mills 1
St. John's Catholic 3, Glenelg Country 0
Glenelg Country School fell, 25-10, 25-17, 25-6.
The Dragons were led by sophomore Ka'Mari Robinson (3 kills) and junior Alexis Foxwell (2 kills, 1 point block). Senior Anna Opoku-Agyeman was 7-for-7 from the service line. Sophomore Sarah Gibney added an ace and five assists.