Mt. Hebron volleyball coach Michael Moynihan has a vague memory of what it feels like to beat powerhouse Centennial, but his players don't.
"The last time we beat them these seniors were in second grade," said Moynihan, whose team defeated the Eagles, 26-24, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, Thursday night. "I think the last time we beat them was (at Centennial) too. That was fun.That was really fun."
The rivalry match was back and forth from start to finish. The Vikings (9-2) trailed in the first set, 24-22, but fought back from the brink with a four-point run, featuring back-to-back kills by sisters Reeana and Ravyn Richardson and capped by a Marissa Duncan point block, to take a 1-0 lead.
Mt. Hebron's momentum built in the second set, as the Vikings used a eight-point service run by Lindsey Scepura — hghlighted by a kill and two blocks by Rachel Neal — to take a commanding 22-14 lead.
Centennial showed signs of life in the third set, as Meghan Kelley led the way to victory with five kills, two aces and a block, and the Eagles jumped to a 14-9 lead in the fourth set. But Mt. Hebron used a 13-2 run to ensure that a fifth set tiebreaker was not necessary.
"They got up, we were a little flat, but we brought it back together. I was impressed," Moynihan said.
The Vikings were led by Mallory Baldwin on defense, and offensively by Ravyn Richardson (11 kills), Reeana Richardson (9 kills, 3 point blocks), Marissa Duncan (6 point blocks, 2 kills) and Meg Ross (8 kills).
"We all played together on the JV freshman year and we beat them on JV, but since then we've never beat them on varsity," Baldwin said. "It feels so good to do it our senior year."
Centennial (6-5), the 14-time state champion, has had an uncharacteristic season, dropping league matches to Glenelg, Howard, River Hill, Wilde Lake, and now, Mt. Hebron.
"Eighteen unforced errors … we're our own worst enemy right now," coach Larry Schofield said. "If we can reduce our errors we're going to be competitive, but we have these unforced errors, attack errors, ball handling errors that we work on everyday. We have to be mentally strong enough to stop making them."
The two teams could potentially meet again in three weeks for a regional championship match.
"Everybody's 0-0 (in the playoffs)," Schofield said. "Every match has been a little better, but we're still making too many errors that we can control, all year long…we're giving away 70 percent of our points on unforced errors."
Meghan Kelley led the way for the Eagles with 15 kills, three aces and two point blocks.
Glenelg and Howard, who are each 10-1, will play next Thursday at Howard in a match that should decide the county title.
Around the league
Glenelg 3, Long Reach 0
Howard 3, Hammond 0
Marriotts Ridge 3, Oakland Mills 1
Reservoir 3, Atholton 1
River Hill 3, Wilde Lake 2