A stretch run to remember.
Second-ranked Severna Park finished with a 15-0 run against host South River in Game 5 last night, bringing a slightly shocking ending to what had been a tense all-out duel between the top two volleyball teams in Anne Arundel County.
The two teams split the first four games and each had scored 52 points entering the deciding game.
It was a dead-even match until Lauren Butler and Julie Allen took their talents to a higher level in Game 5, giving the Falcons a come-from-behind win, 13-15, 15-9, 9-15, 15-13, 15-0.
Butler set the tone for the fifth game by sending seven straight low line-drive serves at 10th-ranked South River, with all of them being nearly impossible to return and all winding up in points for a 7-0 lead.
Allen then took over for Severna Park (14-2) with three kills for points, three kills for sideouts and a rare block for the big hitter.
Butler finished the match with 33 of 34 serving, including seven aces, and Allen had 29 kills.
Butler had a kill for sideout at 14-0, a dink for the 15th point and 15 kills.
Rachael Benton played a key role in Game 5, getting a kill for the 14th point and serving for the eighth and ninth points. Benton also contributed 11 kills and six blocks in the match.
Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar said he told his players before the fifth game: "This is the county championship for both teams. If we don't win this game, we won't be going anywhere. Neither one of us is probably going to lose the rest of the season."
Severna Park and South River are both in the six-team Southern Division, with the winner playing the Northern Division champion for the county title at the end of the season.
"We just couldn't return Butler's serve in the fifth game," said South River coach Maureen Carter. "But I give my girls all the credit in the world. I was just hoping to take one game off them much less thinking about winning two or three games. They have an unbelievable program."
But the Seahawks (5-2) have come a long way in the past few years.
The Seahawks used a lot of perfectly timed dinks to keep hard-charging Severna Park honest for four games, passed perfectly and hustled to the end despite going with only six players the entire match.
The iron six were Kim Thomas, Marybeth Duvall, Maura Smith, Robin Catterton, Beth Salley and Stephanie Chell.
Duvall and Thomas combined for 19 kills and Smith and Catterton each had 16 digs, keeping balls alive that first 'N appeared to be points for the visitors.
"I wanted to go with my veterans all the way," said Carter. "They wanted this match very badly and I wanted to give them a chance to win it."