Glenelg volleyball played like a team on a mission Monday against Hereford to move to within one win of capturing its first state championship since 2005.
The No. 9 Gladiators (13-5) swept the top-seeded and 10th-ranked Bulls, 3-0, in the 2A state semifinals at Harford Community College to advance to Wednesday’s championship match. They will square off against defending 2A champion Century, which earned a sweep of its own against Eastern Tech in the other semifinal, at 5:30 p.m.
“This team has really learned how to fight for one another, which is important because we are a really young team. Most of the starters are underclassmen and there is that sophomore trio in the middle,” Glenelg coach Jason Monjes said. “They are doing a great job of not letting the pressure get to them, and it almost seems like they embrace it.”
Scores for Glenelg in the win were 25-22, 25-11, 25-21. The Gladiators have swept each of their past three opponents — Poolesville, Queen Anne’s and Hereford — this postseason after opening the playoffs with a 3-1 victory over Hammond.
The Gladiators last made the state finals in 2018, when it lost to Williamsport.
Mackenzie Calhoun (27 kills, 11 digs), Lindsay Kelley (six kills, 33 assists, five digs), Sarah Parker (four aces, three kills, 12 digs) and Sydney Yoon (four assists, 16 digs) led Glenelg against Hereford. Lauren LaPointe (four kills) and Liesl Walter (two blocks) also made significant contributions.
Monjes said that he was impressed overall with how his team settled in quickly despite what was at stake.
“I thought it helped a lot that we were able to watch the Century match prior to us and get used to the atmosphere … it kind of settled the nerves,” he said. “We understood how important it was to take care of the little things on the court and adjust really quickly and I thought that allowed us to play our game right from the beginning.”