For the third time in four years, the Perryville girls volleyball team is a state runner-up among Class 1A schools.
And for the third time, the state final loss came against Smithsburg, who swept the Panthers, 3-0, Friday evening inside the Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland, College Park. The scores were 25-9, 25-13 and 25-12.
"Not the way we wanted the season to end, but we gave it our best effort, so I can't fault the girls for that," Panthers coach Matt Borrelli said. "We were just on our heels the whole night."
The Panthers were beaten at the net, where the Leopards pounded out 36 kills. Alaina Black, at 6-2, led the way with 14. Megan Moran added seven and Hollee Winders had six.
Perryville was stymied at the net. Its big players, sophomores Teri Wennersten and Gabby Goodnow, were held to one kill and three blocks combined. Kylie Shiflett and Rebekah Hanshaw led with two kills each.
"Smithsburg's serving is really what did us in. We couldn't set up any of our offensive plays, because we had a lot of bad passes off of their serves," Borrelli said. "We ended up just lobbing the ball back over and when you do that against a strong team like Smithsburg, they're just gonna set up their big hitters and go to town. That's really what happened, that's the story for tonight."
Smithsburg (19-1) also served 17 aces. Lauryn Daniels led with seven. Perryville served three aces, two of them by Goodnow.
Hanshaw had 10 of the team's 22 digs and Rose Porch had five assists. Kaylan Smith contributed five digs.