Western Tech opened the volleyball season with losses to the two teams that went on to play for the Baltimore County championship, but since those defeats, against Hereford and county champion Towson, the Wolverines reeled off wins in 15 of the past 16 matches.
The latest triumph, a 25-16, 25-7, 25-5 sweep of Dunbar (12-6) gave the Wolverines (15-3) their first regional volleyball title since 2011 and second in the school’s history.
It was also the Wolverines eighth straight win and ended Dunbar’s winning streak at six.
Western Tech will play in the Class 1A state tournament semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland College Park.
Against Dunbar, the Wolverines dominated from the service line where they fired 26 aces.
Carley Boarman had six aces and Beatrice Daudelin and Garchet Hatcher had four each to lead the way.
Imari Cooper (5 kills), Brea Thomas and Rachel Durham (3 kills each) led the Wolverines offense.
Emily Badin’s pair of aces helped Western Tech take a 5-0 lead in the first set and they expanded that to 14-2,
That’s when the Wolverines had their only hiccup of the night after Dunbar rattled off five straight points and cut the lead to 14-7 with Shakeema Jackson on the service line.
“It was a big crowd and I think they felt a little bit of pressure, so I just feel like we weren’t playing the way that we like to play,” Western Tech coach Eric Jett said. “We work all the time on hitting spots. It seemed like early on, we just wanted to hit.”
Barry served the first four points and had two aces and Hatcher came off the bench and served the final eight.
Reserves Maya Thurston and Fatima Khan ended the match with kills.
After it was over, 5-foot-4-inch senior hitter Cooper was clutching the championship plaque tight.
“I was a little nervous at first, but I know that we are a great team from the beginning and I just think we got better,” said Cooper, who started playing volleyball as a sophomore and was promoted to the varsity during the season.
Staying loose was one of the keys to victory for Thomas.
“We had to not be nervous and fight our hardest and just play hard and have fun,” said Thomas, who credits her coach for keeping up her intensity. “I really owe it all to Jett because he really encourages us all the time and he pushes us to be the greatest that we can and I really appreciate it. Honestly, I wouldn’t be playing as hard as I could if it wasn’t for him.”