Urbana had16 aces and was 96 percent successful from the service line in a five-set victory over host Dulaney in the Class 4A North Region volleyball championship game on Friday night.
That helped the Hawks (15-3) prevail 24-26, 25-12, 25-16, 20-25, 15-10 and advance to the Class 4A state semifinals on Monday, Nov. 12 against Eleanor Roosevelt.
Dulaney ends its season with a 14-4 mark.
Emily Canaday led the Hawks with five aces and junior Trinity Burge led the squad with 13 kills and 17 assists.
Makayla Thompson added 10 kills and Cathryn Diaz had 11 assists for the winners.
Thompson (15 digs) and Diaz (13 digs) were the defensive standouts for the Hawks.
Dulaney’s attack was led by Lisa Lui (12 kills), Rose Vail (six kills) and Nancy Slaughter (five kills).
Setter Kathryn Parler, who was playing ill after missing practice the day before, finished with 23 assists for the Lions (14-4).
After Urbana won sets two and three convincingly, the Lions roared back for a victory in the fourth set, thanks to strong contributions from reserves Asa Irving and Veronica Alvarado.
But, after trailing 4-1 early in the final set, Urbana rallied behind a pair of kills from Burge and aces from Canaday and Mara Bravin.
“These girls just have so much heart and determination that they want it,” said Urbana coach Kayla Martin, in her sixth season as head coach. “They are hungry. “We haven’t been in this situation since I’ve been at Urbana.”
Urbana will only be making its second trip to the state semifinals. They lost in the semis in 2009.
Dulaney was denied its 15th trip to the state tournament’s final four. The Lions have won three state titles.
The first set was the tightest after the Lions took a 21-18 lead on an ace by Julia Whatley that prompted a time our by Urbana’s Martin.
An Urbana error and net violation pushed the lead to 23-18 before the Hawks rallied with five straight points that included an ace on a wicked jump serve by Burge and kill from Thompson.
An attack error gave the Lions a 24-23 lead, but another kill by Thompson evened it at 24-all.
A missed serve by Urbana was followed by an ace from Dulaney’s Slaughter for the set-winning point.
Burge admitted the late rally in the first half gave her team a lift.
“I think the energy that we finished with in the first set whirled over into the second and third and that was a big part,” Burge said. “When we are down, we are really good at coming back.”
The Hawks aggressive serving put the Lions on their heels in the second and third sets and they won easily.
Dulaney was tied 4-4 in the fourth set when they broke it open with kills from Slaughter, Irving and Tatyana Sabirzhanova for a 7-4 lead.
Trailing 22-15, the Hawks again mounted a comeback as they scored five consecutive points to make it 22-20.
A hitting error broke the streak and the Lions closed it out.
Coach Martin warned her team the Lions were ripe for a comeback.
“We had that conversation before game four,” Martin said. “Walk in, be confident, but don’t be over-confident, but Dulaney is a good team, they came back fighting and they knew where our weaknesses were defensively and they did that.”
Despite losing the fourth set, Burge was confident the Hawks could finish.
“Our team knows when they are down and when they are up and we really know how to harness the energy that we really need to push through,” said Burge, who emphasized the team aspect. “There is nobody that outshines anybody else and there is nobody that said that is my win, we are a team and that’s kind of the thing that we do.”
Dulaney coach Cary Lyon knows all about team chemistry as he watched his emotional squad take the loss hard.
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“I’m so proud and that’s whey they are crying, because they love each other,” Lyon said.