It sure wasn’t supposed to end like this.
Winters Mill had its magical volleyball season come to a resounding end, losing a two set to none lead to visiting and the Class 2A West title to Williamsport 17-25, 21-25, 25-15, 25-15, 15-13.
For the 14-time state champion Wildcats (12-5), it’s another trip to College Park and the State Semifinals. For the Falcons, its an off-season to think of what might have been.
Ashley Bobnar led the Falcons (14-3) with 17 kills.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” said Winters Mill coach Kari Totten. “I really wanted this for [the girls]. It’s hard. We made too many unforced errors.”
Indeed, the match looked like two different matches.
The Falcons came out on fire, taking the lead at 6-5 on a Megan Ruff kill, and never looking back en-route to a 25-17 win in the first set.
Winters Mill jumped out to an 20-7 lead in the second set and looked to be on cruise control, but Williamsport started to wake up. The Wildcats cut the lead to just three at 24-21, before a kill by Kristin Vaeth ended the run gave the Falcons the set.
The third set looked like the inverse of the second. Williamsport became much more aggressive at the net, and the Falcons had trouble hitting over the block. The Wildcats closed the deficit to one set with a 25-15 win.
The Falcons became even more their own worst enemy in the fourth. Winters Mill committed three service errors in the set, which saw Williamsport, behind the serving of Hayley Kendle, build a 16-10 lead before coasting to a 25-15 win.
The Falcons seemed to regain some of their momentum at the start of the fifth set, even taking a 9-6 lead. With the score tied at 13-13, the Wildcats used a kill and an unforced error to end the match.
“We played our hearts out,” Bobnar said. “We had all the motivation in the world, but we could get it done. We gave them a lot of points, and they are a good team.”
Totten said she stressed to her team not to let down in the huddles between the sets, but the errors and improved play by the Wildcats proved to be too much.
“I’m proud of the girls and the effort they showed,” said Totten. “We worked our butts off this year to get here, and they fought hard. That’s a good team that we lost to.”
Williamsport coach Karen Moyer was equally complimentary of the Falcons effort.
“That’s a very very tough team we beat tonight,” said Moyer. “Defensively, they were one of the best teams we’ve played. We came alive when we found our passing game and set up the block in the second game. That was the difference.”