Glenelg's volleyball team learned last year that Mount Hebron almost always plays better at home.
Back then, the Gladiators won the first meeting before losing in Mount Hebron's gym the second time around. Last night, the Gladiators made sure history did not repeat itself.
The No. 5 Gladiators withstood the Vikings' mid-match surge to defeat No. 7 Mount Hebron, 15-4, 15-3, 6-15, 15-11, in Howard County league volleyball action last night.
Just as they had in the first meeting this season, the Gladiators (9-2 overall, 8-2 league) dominated the first two games. The Vikings had trouble hitting early on, managing just five kills in the first two games.
In the third game, the Vikings took an early lead on Kelly Quinn's three-point serving run. Glenelg pulled ahead, 6-4, but Quinn served another run to go ahead, 9-6.
With better hitting especially from Quinn, Lia Kaltreider, Emily Yanero and Dani Vissers as well as good blocking from Yanero and Kathy Doyle, the Vikings didn't give up another point in the third game.
In the final game, however, the Vikings couldn't get the same production, eventually succumbing to balanced Glenelg hitting.
For Mount Hebron (7-4, 7-4), the loss was costly. It may have knocked the three-time defending Class 2A state champs out of playoff contention.
Coming into the match, the Vikings were clinging to a playoff berth in their new Class 3A East region. If last night's loss did not knock the Vikings out, a loss in tomorrow night's match with league-leading Centennial certainly will.
With five Baltimore City schools, who can compile more points because they play more 4A and 3A schools, in the East region, the Vikings barely stood a chance with their tough Howard County schedule.
Vikings coach Jeannine McCrumb said her players are realistic about their chances. "I think they'll be disappointed, but when they look at the draw, they'll know it's not necessarily because we're not as good as the other teams.
"But I hope it will make them see that we have to work harder just to get there now. This team has come a long way, and next year I think they'll perform well. I have a young team, and sometimes even I forget that."
On the other hand, Glenelg appears to have a Class 2A regional berth all but sewn up. With last night's victory, Glenelg also kept a firm hold on second place in the county league.
The Gladiators' only two losses came early in the season to Centennial, which remains unbeaten in the league.
Since then, the Gladiators have become a more well-rounded team. In addition to their top hitter Marisa Davidson, the Gladiators have several other players coming on strong.
In the final game of last night's match, Davidson's kill gave the Gladiators a 10-9 lead, but then she moved to the back row to serve. Her teammates came through with the plays that won the match.
Kerry Rutter (three), Elisa Davidson and Jaime Marshall had kills to finish off the match. Marshall pounded one off a block to put the Vikings away.
"I feel more confident, because I know I'm not the only one who can hit it," said Marisa Davidson. "Everyone's coming through when they have to."