Mount Hebron volleyball coach Jeannine McCrumb said early in the season that No. 1 Centennial could be beaten, but the No. 3 Vikings did not have the answer last night.
Centennial (7-0 overall, 7-0 league) won the neighborhood matchup of state champions, 15-10, 15-4, 15-13.
In the first game, Mount Hebron (3-2, 3-2) took a 5-1 lead and led 10-7, but once the Eagles caught up, they never trailed the rest of the match.
The Vikings' Kelly Quinn, who doubles as a hitter and setter, said her team did not play the kind of game it needed to beat the two-time defending state Class 3A champions.
"We didn't come in with the right attitude," said Quinn, who finished with seven kills. "We were timid and we didn't play strong. We played safe and they played strong. You can't play safe against any team, but especially not against Centennial."
One of the Vikings' biggest problems was their serving. Of 67 serves, 12 were long, wide or into the net -- several of those stopped strong Vikings runs, including one late in the third game.
As the Vikings steadily pulled closer in that game, Quinn served wide. A point off that serve would have tied the game at 14.
But there were plenty of other unforced errors as the Vikings seemed tentative between their early lead and late-match surge.
The loss marked the second straight for the three-time defending state Class 2A champion Vikings, who move up to Class 3A this season. They were coming off a heart-breaker against Glenelg that went to 15-13 in the fifth game Tuesday.
The Eagles learned something from that match, said hitter Erika Hockycko (seven kills).
"We knew that during the Glenelg match, they lost the first two games, and then came back. We weren't expecting them to roll over and die, so we had to stay focused," said Hockycko.
Centennial's double-barrel attack of Carlyn Cangiano and Krisha Svehla also proved too much for the Vikings. Svehla had a match-high 14 kills and Cangiano added seven.
Cangiano, however, sparked the Eagles with her jump serve in the second and third games. She served four aces and the Eagles won 11 points when she used it.
In the third game, the Eagles ran to a 6-1 lead, but the Vikings nearly pulled off a comeback. The Vikings pulled within 6-5 and within two three times before closing to 13-12.
"In the third game, I felt like we had it together, but we couldn't get those final points," said the Vikings' Lia Kaltreider, who finished with a team-high eight kills.
Cangiano aced the Vikings with her jump serve to put Centennial ahead 14-12. But Kathy Doyle, who struggled much of the night, hit a perfect cross-court kill to keep the Vikings in the match.
The Eagles sent Quinn's next serve into the rafters to help the Vikings pull within 14-13, but Quinn's wide serve gave the Eagles another shot at match point.
After Sheri Kujawa served, Kaltreider hit the ball into the net to end the match. Centennial's Chrissy Sfakianos saved the point seconds earlier with a great dig on a hard hit by Kaltreider.