ELDERSBURG — Ally Everton said she felt like Century’s volleyball team played its first complete match all season. Caroline Mastria agreed, and said the Knights just came to play.
The Knights closed out the regular season on a three-game win streak and earned a first round bye in the Class 2A West Region 1 playoffs. They hosted county foe Winters Mill on Monday, and defeated the Falcons in straight sets (25-8, 25-13, 25-9) for the third time this fall.
“Our serve and pass game is so important to us,” Knights coach Bryan Trumbo said. “We like to say we’re our own worst enemy because as far as hitting errors, we made six hitting errors for the whole match. Sometimes that’s what happens in one game so for that to be in one match, we played really clean volleyball.”
Trumbo added the first-round bye gave the Knights time to work on some additional things, such as first touch, blocking, and overall discipline.
Senior setter Ali Whitworth notched 27 assists, five digs, and two blocks. Mastria, a senior, notched eight kills — seniors Maria Acaron and Sam Malin had six kills apiece.
Whitworth and Eva Brandt had four aces apiece for the Knights (13-2), and the team notched 15 aces in a total collective effort.
“I think we’ve all been playing with each other for a while and we know each other’s tendencies,” said Everton, Century’s senior libero. “We’re finally clicking with each other and we know how each other thinks and that’s very beneficial.”
Century dominated from the start, and led 8-2 thanks to kills from Malin and a pair of blocks from Brandt and Whitworth. The Knights led 13-2 before the Falcons got on the board with a third point. A kill from Acaron made it 21-7 minutes later, and the Knights closed out the frame.
The Knights had a pair of service errors that allowed the Falcons to pick up a 4-3 lead early in the second set, but rebounded to score the next seven points on a pair of kills from Mastria and another from junior Mary Huber. A kill from Winters Mill senior Annalies Blackford cut the deficit to 21-12, but the Knights outscored the Falcons 4-1 to win the second set.
The Knights scored the first 10 points in the third set, and used two 4-0 scoring runs to hold the Falcons to less than 10 points again. Century advances to host Oakland Mills, which upset Glenelg in straight sets Monday, in the regional final Wednesday.
“We knew they had the big blocks and we really focused on our side of the court,” Mastria said. “Making the plays we needed to make to get the points that we could control.”
The Falcons (6-9) defeated Century twice in the regular season in 2018, and ended the Knights’ season in four sets in a 2A West sectional semifinal as well. The Knights took advantage with the talent on their side of the net this year, and used straight sets to beat WM in the regular season twice.
Century is one win away from its first state tournament appearance in eight years.
“They play a lot of club together so they’re very familiar with each other and a lot of them grew up in seventh and eighth grade playing together so I had them in elementary and middle school so it’s nice to see how telepathic they are," Trumbo said. "They already know what I’m thinking and what each other are thinking.”