A Westminster High School volleyball team that has come so far this season found itself on the ropes last night for the second time in four days.
The 11th-ranked Owls were upset by Linganore Monday night and they lost the first two games to South Carroll last night.
But this time, Westminster reached back for some timely kills and improved communication to storm back for an 8-15, 5-15, 15-9, 15-10, 15-13 victory over host South Carroll in a Central Maryland Conference match.
The win set the stage for a winner-take-all showdown with 12th-ranked North Carroll Tuesday at Westminster at 6:45 p.m.
The Westminster-North Carroll winner will claim the CMC and the Carroll County championships.
The Owls (14-3 overall, 10-2 in the CMC, 5-0 in the county) had to fend off a strong South Carroll rally in the fifth game to take the match.
Westminster was breezing along with a 12-4 lead in the fifth game when South Carroll (6-7, 4-7, 1-5) started doing almost everything right to take nine of the next 10 points for a 13-13 tie.
The Cavaliers came back behind the all-around play of Melissa Gettemy and Nicole Spencer and the serving of Michelle Pickett and Jamey McGregor.
But Westminster answered with its best weapon -- a Beth Lister kill -- for a 14-13 lead and then wrapped up the game and match with a strong serve by Tara Dorsey that went sailing off McGregor's hands.
Dorsey, who served the final two points for Westminster, said: "I knew how important this match was for us to win the county and the CMC, so I just wanted to get a point somehow."
In regard to the slow start, Dorsey said the Owls have had trouble all season getting started.
"It seems like it takes us two games to get going," she said.
Westminster coach Michelle Salafia-Crouse was upset with her team's inability to serve in the first two games.
"Our serving killed us," she said. "We finally got going a little late in the match, but it still wasn't as good as we should be serving."
She said South Carroll surprised the Owls by "mixing their game up a lot."
"They didn't hit the ball hard. They just went for the right places on the court and hit them a lot," said Salafia-Crouse. When asked if her team was ready for the regionals, she said flatly: "No."
Lister said Westminster has to return to the "more rowdy, louder style of play we had earlier in the season. We seem to be a little too tight."
South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton said: "I think we played strong defense to slow down their hitters, but our hitters didn't have the kind of night we should have."
Gettemy explained why: "We're too hesitant and weren't talking."