BETHESDA -- It almost seemed appropriate that Walt Whitman's Mary Jo Sisk closed out the Class 3A West championship against South Carroll with a service ace.
All last night, the Vikings' hitter was the center of attention, gaining most of it with her 22 kills.
Behind her, the top-seeded and host Vikings swept third seed South Carroll, 15-9, 15-7, 15-9.
Whitman (12-4) advances to the state tournament.
"All we needed to do was stop [Sisk], but we just couldn't do it," said South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton, whose team finished 10-6.
"I thought they mainly had just one player. Their other hitters weren't very strong and their serves weren't either, but they kept getting the ball to her and doing what they had to do."
It didn't matter where Sisk was, the Vikings found a way to set her the ball. Some of her strongest kills came from the back row. Eaton said she was the strongest hitter the Cavs had seen all season.
The Cavaliers hurt themselves with erratic serving and untimely miscommunication.
But though they fell behind early in all three games, they never quit.
After dropping the first game and falling behind 3-0 in the second, the Cavs rallied to take a 5-3 lead on the serving of Melanie Zahn and net play of Erin Windsor and Melissa Gettemy. But the Vikings scored the next 10 points to win going away.
Whitman took a 5-0 lead in the eventual clincher, fell behind 7-6, then rallied behind Sisk down the stretch. She had two straight kills to give the Vikings an 8-7 lead and closed out the match with the ace.
Eaton was pleased with the play of Gettemy and also said Nicole Spencer hit well. She added that the team's poor serving was costly.
Despite the loss, it was a great season for the Cavaliers.
After finishing under .500 in 1992, they rebounded with a 9-6 regular season. Two of those losses came to Thomas Johnson, whom they beat in the region semifinals.
"Going into the season, I was looking to have a .500 season and we almost made it to states. It would have been nice to get this one, but I'm real satisfied," Eaton said.