Girls volleyball: Fallston returns to state final

Fallston beat a tough Calvert team, 3-1, Wednesday night and will play Saturday for its second straight girls volleyball state championship.

The Cougars will defend their Maryland State Class 2A Championship at noon Saturday against Century.

Fallston dropped the first game, 25-22, but rebounded to win the next three, including an emotional and pivotal win, 37-35, in set two. Fallston then closed out the match with back to back wins, 25-19 and 25-18.

"I'm very impressed with the intensity these ladies showed throughout the match," Alison Winaker, Fallston's head coach, said.

Fallston, which arrived late because of an accident on Route 1, came out a bit slow. Calvert jumped ahead, 8-3, and led, 14-8, before the Cougars strung a few points together to make it, 14-11. The Cougars got no closer, losing by three.

"Calvert came out strong and we played on our heels," Winaker said.

Game two was a huge momentum builder for the Cougars, who matched the Cavaliers point-for-point. The game featured 19 ties, 10 lead changes and 12 match points before Cougar senior Rachael Holehouse put away back-to-back kills for the win.

In game three, Holehouse, who had abandoned her nasty jump serve, went back to it. Two aces pushed the Cougars ahead, 6-2, but the Cavaliers battled back to tie the game at 10. Calvert then went ahead by three, 15-12, but the Cougars fought back to lead, 20-18, on another Holehouse ace.

The Cougars closed out the game with four straight points after getting serve back.

In the final set, consecutive kills by Emily Letke, Abby Claborn and Sierra Offutt staked Fallston to a 9-4 lead. Calvert helped the Cougars with three service errors, two out of bounds and one into the net.

A Holehouse kill ended a later run by Calvert, which cut Fallston's 15-9 lead to 16-11. The Cougars maintained a four to five point lead the rest of the way for the seven point match-clinching win.

Holehouse had another big night with a match best 25 kills, despite some tough play at the net and in the back row by Calvert. Claborn added eight kills and Letke had seven. Anna Holehouse, who Calvert players called "amazing," was everywhere with a team-high 33 digs.

Kara Collins had 17 kills and Rachel Hornick had 16 to lead Calvert. Calvert's Jessica Phelps led all players with 40 digs. Calvert's season ends at 18-5.

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