ELLICOTT CITY, MD — The Howard volleyball team has its biggest match of the season on Thursday night at Glenelg. But before the defending county champion Lions could get to Thursday, they had to get through Tuesday, and they did so in convincing fashion.
Howard (9-1) swept visiting rival Centennial (7-3) Tuesday night, 3-0.
"My girls have confidence," said coach Grant Scott, whose team fell behind 7-0 in the first set but recovered to tie it 10-10 and never looked back. "At that point we knew that if we played our game we could win."
Senior Dasha Johnson had a career night, piling up 14 kills.
"Last year we were probably the strongest team in the county, but this year my team is good, too," Johnson said. "The sophomores and juniors have really stepped up and played to the level that we did last year … winning games hasn't been as much of a challenge as we thought it would be."
Howard's returning first-team all-county setter Hanna Webster used all of her weapons on offense, including senior Janie Kalinock (6 kills, 5 blocks) and sophomore Sarah Sweet (6 kills, 4 aces).
"Being able to let everybody get involved really makes a difference," Scott said. "We've got kids who can get a kill when we need to … (Webster) knew to feed Dasha tonight. She knew to mix in some right side and middle to leave (Johnson) open. But she knew who her hot hitter was and she made sure that she adjusted and gave her the ball where she could put it away."
The Eagles were led by seniors Meghan Kelley and Chloe Atram.
"We need to fix our side of the net," coach Mike Bossom said. "We have to finish strong and figure out who we are. We haven't figured that out yet."
With Centennial out of the way, Scott can now focus on the task at hand as he prepares for a rematch of last year's county title tilt.
"Now I'm going to get my scouting report and start looking at what they've got. I know they have a phenomenal team," said Scott, whose team defeated Glenelg (9-1) in five sets last October. "It's the end of the year, we're both primed, we're both aggressive. It's their senior night. It's going to be fun. Someone's going to walk out happy and someone sad, but I just hope it's good volleyball."