The last time Glenelg's volleyball team faced Mount Hebron was in November and all that was riding on the match was a berth in the Class 2A state finals.
Mount Hebron won that match and the next to capture its third straight state title.
The stakes weren't quite as high in yesterday's matchup between the two schools, but you could hardly tell the difference, as No. 5 Glenelg escaped the 2-hour, 8-minute marathon with a five-game victory over the third-ranked Vikings (3-1, 3-1).
The host Gladiators (4-2, 3-2) won the first two games with little resistance but had to battle to the last point before winning the match, 15-11, 15-4, 4-15, 10-15, 15-13.
"This was definitely a grudge match because they ended our shot at winning the states last year and we've had to live with that for a long time," said Marisa Davidson, a 6-foot hitter who led Glenelg in kills with 22. "It's been on our minds for a long time, but now I think we can finally put it behind us."
The Gladiators had no trouble putting the first two victories behind them. Glenelg went on a six-point run and took a 14-8 lead in Game 1 behind Davidson's serving and her sister, Elisa's net play.
Game 2 was the most lopsided of the match, as the Gladiators built a 10-2 lead and never were headed.
Then, the match turned, or as Marisa Davidson put it, Glenelg "just kind of lost it."
"Our concentration really went down in the third game," said Marisa Davidson, who was limited to four kills in games 3 and 4. "Maybe we thought we had it too early, but they're a good team and we should never have underestimated them."
Mount Hebron stormed back in the third game and jumped out front 8-0. Junior Lia Kaltreider led the Vikings' charge at both the service line and up front. Kaltreider, who converted on 22 of 25 serves, including five aces, put the Vikings in position to win and set the stage for junior Kelly Quinn, who finished the third game with one of her team-high 12 kills.
The Vikings trailed early in Game 4 but Quinn eventually took over at the net and forced a fifth game.
"Traditionally, Mount Hebron has a good team and we know that they can come back at any time, so I just told my girls to keep their heads in the game," said Glenelg coach Marlene Janis. "Before the start of the fifth game, I told them that this is anyone's match."
Glenelg led in the early stages of Game 5 before the Vikings tied the game at 8-8 after a spike by Dani Vissers. The game was tied at 10 and 13 before junior Susan Geisler (25 of 28 serves, eight aces) served out the game's last two points, including the match-winning ace.
"I wonder what it would have been like if I started out in the 6-2 set," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannine McCrumb.
"In the third game I was thinking, 'What can I do?' and I changed to the 6-2 and it worked really well. The next time I think will be different because we'll probably play that way from Game 1."