Mount Hebron matures, tops Glenelg to gain final

Six weeks ago, Mount Hebron's volleyball team appeared to be too young and inexperienced to make the playoffs, let alone defend a state volleyball championship. Today, the Vikings are one victory away from their third consecutive state title.

Hebron rode the hot hands of Megan Waterfield, Dani Vissers and Kai Scott to a 15-11, 12-15, 16-14, 15-7 victory over rival Glenelg last night in a Class 2A semifinal at Owings Mills High School.


The victory puts the Vikings and third-year coach Jeannine McCrumb on familiar ground. They will go after the state title Saturday against North Caroline at Catonsville Community College. Game time is noon.

McCrumb was beaming last night after watching Hebron (13-5) outlast the Gladiators (13-5), who made their first state playoff appearance under eighth-year coach Marlene Janis.


McCrumb recalled how the Vikings had lost four starters to graduation, entered this season with only two seniors and stumbled through the season's first half by losing four of their first seven matches.

Then she thought about how they turned their season around in a hurry. Hebron won seven of its last eight regular-season matches and barely qualified for the Region II playoffs. Last night, Hebron stared down a senior-laden Glenelg team to win its 11th match in 12 attempts.

"After we lost to everybody in the first round, we were down on ourselves, and I was worried that we wouldn't make it [to the playoffs]," McCrumb said. "I don't think it's really hit me yet."

The Vikings, who often have struggled in victory, lacked artistry again last night. They committed 17 service errors and lost the second game by squandering a 12-7 lead. But Glenelg wasn't sharp either, committing 18 service errors.

On a night when sophomore hitter Kelly Quinn -- Hebron's catalyst all year -- turned in a rare subpar performance on offense, other heroes stepped forward.

Waterfield and Scott, Hebron's only two seniors, led the way. Waterfield, coming off a rough match in the regional finals against Towson, was the star with 15 kills and 11 passing points, both team-highs. Scott, who has been superb at setter all year, recorded 35 assists and had six aces. Vissers, a sophomore hitter, also played one of her best matches, with 11 kills, two point blocks and four aces.

"We were really young, and we had trouble getting it together this year," Waterfield said. "It took the first half of the season for us to get used to playing with each other."

Scott got the Vikings rolling with excellent off-balance sets and three aces in the first game. In Game 2, though, the Gladiators stepped up. Sparked by a great save by Marisa Davidson (seven kills, four point blocks) on a wicked serve by Scott, Glenelg reeled off eight straight points to turn a 12-7 deficit into a 15-12 victory.


The third game was a battle of who would make the most mistakes. The teams combined for 17 service errors while the lead changed hands four times. But with Glenelg leading 14-13, Waterfield sent a kill down the line to tie the score for the sixth and final time. Waterfield's next two kills won the game.

The Gladiators, who wasted a terrific effort by Debbie Snyder (11 kills, two point blocks), went quietly in Game 4. "We were too afraid to make a mistake," said Janis, whose Gladiators were 6-9 last year.