LA PLATA — LA PLATA -- Catonsville coach Debbie Clem said her team played its best match in three years last week in its regional final against C. Milton Wright. That effort, she said, was one to remember.
Last night's Class 3A state semifinal against Walter Johnson at Charles County Community College, however, was one to forget.
After dropping a hard-fought first game, 15-13, top seed Catonsville went on to lose in convincing fashion, falling, 15-1 and 15-11.
This is the third year in a row the Comets have played a dominating regular season only to lose handily in a state semifinal. Last year, they lost in three games to Seneca Valley.
"We come in here and it's like we're not the same people," Clem said. "Once [Walter Johnson] started a run, it was like we weren't even on the court. It's not our talent. It's entirely mental."
Walter Johnson, out of Montgomery County, will meet Centennial, the winner of last night's other semifinal, against McDonough, for the Class 3A championship Saturday at Catonsville Community College.
Catonsville, which won its regional final against C. Milton Wright in three games, had all kinds of difficulty last night.
The first game was a back-and-forth struggle. After Catonsville grabbed a 2-0 lead, the Wildcats (13-2) came back, tying the score at 2-2 on an ace by Dana Eberly.
The game was tied six more times before Walter Johnson's Sarah Greenwold scored consecutive points on a kill and a winner to give her team a 15-13 win.
"Once they got the momentum, we couldn't do anything about it," Clem said. "We just had error after error. It was one bad pass to two, to three. . . . We stopped playing."
Walter Johnson coach William Morris III cited two differences:
"One was great teamwork. The other was Dana Eberly. She may be the best player in this tournament."