After losing the first game, Centennial made the necessary adjustments to turn the match around and defeated host Mount Hebron, 6-15, 15-13, 17-15, 15-9, in a Howard County league game yesterday.
"They took away a lot of things we did in the first game," said Mount Hebron coach Henry Dahlan, whose No. 4 team drops to 2-1. "They adjusted well."
The No. 2 Eagles, winners of four consecutive state Class 3A titles, are playing with five seniors, one junior and six sophomores. Dahlan thought his senior-laden team had the experience that might give them an edge. But it didn't happen yesterday.
Centennial (2-0) began the match by winning the first five points, then watched Mount Hebron win the last 12 to capture the first game.
"I think that put more pressure on them and I know it really pumped us up," said the Eagles' only junior, Meredith Price, who had eight kills and eight blocks. "We were a lot more confident the last three games."
The Eagles jumped to a 9-4 lead in the second game and led 13-10 before Mount Hebron, with Kate Hannas serving, won three straight points to tie the game.
Centennial called a timeout and, after a Mount Hebron miscue, won the game behind two serves from Katie McCulloch.
Mount Hebron had an 11-6 lead in the third game, but the Eagles, with Heather Tolkach serving, won seven straight points for a 13-11 advantage.
The Vikings rallied with three straight points for a 14-13 lead and served for the game. But a winner by Jen West gave the serve back to Centennial.
The Eagles tied the game at 14, but a winner by Sylvia Kaltreider put Mount Hebron ahead and Sarah Nichols tried to serve out the game. But her serve found the net, and three straight serves by Jen Klimm gave Centennial the game.
Dahlan blamed himself for Nichols' serve into the net. "I gave her an area to serve in. I gave her the direction," he said. "Next time I'll just tell her to hit it in."
Centennial led 11-0 in the final game and substituted liberally. But Eagles' coach Mike Bossom had to return his starters after Mount Hebron ran off eight straight points.
"We wanted this more than anything," said Jen West. "We wanted so much to prove to ourselves that we could do it. That's what won it. Our hearts."