Loch Raven's defense proved to be the deciding factor in yesterday's Baltimore County volleyball championship at Perry Hall. The only thing was, it was provided by the offense.
The Raiders got the ball to the right people at the right time and never let the Gators set up en route to their second straight Baltimore County title, 15-6, 15-9, 13-15, 15-1.
"We knew Perry Hall had good hitters. Our goal was to try to make sure that they didn't see the ball much, and that was the difference," said Loch Raven coach Carol McPherson.
"This is very gratifying for us because we've never done it before," McPherson said of her team's back-to-back county championships. "I thought our defense did a very good job today, but we're not there yet. Our serving definitely improved today."
Loch Raven rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the first game, scoring 15 of the next 18 points for a 15-6 win. The Raiders were led by the serving of Sun King and Kelly Powell, who combined for 12 points.
Loch Raven, the county 1A-2A champ, took a 10-1 lead in the second game before the Gators crept back to cut the margin to 12-9. The Raiders, on the strength of Shannon Towner's serving and Jebry Simon's setting, rallied to score the next three points and a 15-9 win.
Perry Hall, the county 3A-4A champion, trailed 8-2 in the third game before rallying to take a 9-8 lead.
Loch Raven answered, running the lead to 13-9 before improved passing by Perry Hall tied the game at 13. The Gators capitalized on their ability to get the ball to 6-foot Jaime Jansen and used Tricia Daubert's serving, including an ace, to secure a 15-13 win.
"We had a little bit of a letdown [in the third game]," said McPherson. "They had the momentum and I figured they would come back. Then they had a letdown and that let us come back."
Loch Raven dominated the last game, taking a 12-0 lead before winning 15-1 to claim the championship.
"We started to pass better [in the third game], but then we lost our focus again," said Perry Hall coach Pam Witt. "We couldn't pass today, and when you can't pass, you can't win."
Jansen said, "We just couldn't get it going. Once we got down, we just couldn't dig ourselves out of the hole."