After losing to No. 2 Centennial in three games the first time around, No. 7 Mount Hebron hoped to win at least one game this time.
And it did. After dropping the first two games, the Vikings rebounded to win the third. Host Mount Hebron also rallied from a 13-2 deficit in the fourth game before falling, 15-9, 15-5, 10-15, 15-11, in a Howard County league match last night.
Granted the Vikings (7-5 overall, 7-5 league) won their game against much of the Eagles' bench, but they'll take it anyway.
"It made us think we could win this match," said junior Dani Vissers, who sparked the Vikings in several games with her strong net play. "But they have a lot of club players and they have more experience. It's always nice to win one game, but we would like to have gone to five games and won."
For the Eagles (13-1, 12-0), the victory is the latest step in rebounding from their only loss of the season, to No. 1 Severna Park twoweeks ago at the North Caroline tournament.
"We've been kind of trying to make up for the loss against Severna Park," said Eagles junior Krisha Svehla. "We've been trying to come out really hard against the rest of our competition."
The Eagles, two-time defending state Class 3A champions, came out hard against Mount Hebron. Both teams jostled a bit in the first game, but Centennial pulled ahead 11-6 on Sheri Kujawa's ace and cruised.
The Eagles took an 8-2 lead in the second game on strong hitting from Carlyn Cangiano and Svehla. Cangiano, a 6-foot senior middle hitter, finished off the game with two of her game-high 16 kills.
Svehla, a 6-1 middle hitter, sat out the third game as coach Bill Shook used most of his bench.
"It's very important that we use the third game to look at players for next year since we are going to lose a talented group of seniors," Shooksaid. "Since we beat Mount Hebron last time in three, I had confidence we could still win."
But the Vikings picked up their game. Vissers had three big blocks and a kill off the quick set from Sylvia Kaltreider to spark a four-point run to put the Vikings ahead 8-3.
The Eagles rallied behind Carrie Shadrick's serve and a kill by Cangiano to pull ahead 10-9.
Kathy Doyle's kill tied the game. After a Centennial miscue put the Vikings ahead 11-10, Sarah Eberhart and Vissers pounded back-to-back kills to go up 13-11. Another Eagles mistake gave the Vikings match point, and Vissers blocked Cangiano's tip attempt to win the game, 15-10.
In the fourth game, Shook brought back his starters and cruised to a 13-2 lead. But Mount Hebron rallied back to within 13-11 on strong serving from Kelly Quinn, as well as good hitting and blocking from Doyle and Vissers.
After the Vikings lost the serve, they committed a couple of mistakes, giving Centennial the final two points.