For Katelyn Goodhart and Winters Mill, Thursday was a banner night. Literally.
"We were practicing in [our] gym, and we looked at the banners," Goodhart said. "We noticed that none of them said anything about volleyball."
Later this year, there will be one that does.
The No. 6 Falcons (10-0) used some timely serving and a bend-but-not-break defense to defeat host and 10th-ranked Francis Scott Key (11-1), 25-22, 25-16, 25-22. The win gives Winters Mill its first ever Carroll County volleyball title, putting the team on a banner in the school's gym.
"Katelyn really gave us a lift with her serving. She was amazing," Falcons coach Michelle Crouse said. "We served very well as a team. I think we only missed one or two serves all night."
The Eagles were the more composed team early, using the home crowd and a deliberate style to run out to a 20-13 lead in the first game.
Winters Mill needed a calming influence to slow things down. The Falcons found it in Goodhart.
The senior served 10 straight points, taking the Falcons from a seven-point deficit to a 23-20 lead. After the Eagles got another point on a tap over the net from Brooke Gallagher (six kills), the Falcons used a kill from Laura Bell and a block from Meaghan Crouse to finish out the set, 25-22.
The second set was more of the same. Winters Mill used aces by Sara Bollinger (12 digs) and Bell to take a 12-9 lead. Key never got closer the rest of the way, and Goodhart posted two kills as the Falcons ran away with the second set, 25-16.
The Eagles kept it close in the final set, and finally took the lead at 13-12. After a kill from Casey Bair (12 kills) tied the score, Goodhart went on another six-point scoring run to push the lead to 19-13. Winters Mill never looked back after that, taking the set, 25-22.
"We played very well as a team," Bair said. "There was constant talking out there, constant communication. We wanted this [county title], and we knew we had to stop them to get it."
Now Crouse has the job of managing expectations. She said she believes her team will rise to that challenge, too.
"We're trying not to look too far ahead," Crouse said. "We've accomplished our first goal. Now let's see what else we can do."
No. 6 Winters Mill d No. 10 Francis Scott Key, 25-22, 25-16, 25-22.