Everyone in the gym knew who would hit the ball.
"I went, 'Here it comes,' " said Catonsville volleyball coach Debbie Clem. "I knew she was going for it."
And as the ball left setter Amber Reig's hands and climbed into the air, Elisa Davidson was getting ready for the kill. Lift-off was seconds away.
"As soon as I saw her go up for the ball, I knew that was it," said Glenelg's Cara Franklin. "I knew the ball would hit the floor."
Davidson rose to meet the ball. The crowd at Catonsville Community College knew what was coming. The best player on the court was about to end her high school career with one more resounding kill shot. How appropriate.
The ball landed hard on the Catonsville side.
It hit the floor.
Point, game, match.
In a two-hour plus marathon filled with excellent hitting, excellent comebacks and two exceptional hitters, No. 4 Glenelg defeated No. 7 Catonsville, 15-13, 14-16, 9-15, 15-11, 15-12 yesterday to capture the 2A state volleyball title.
Davidson set two tournament records: 14 kills in a game, the last one, and 37 for the match.
"We tried everything but she's tough to stop," said Clem, who tried at times to stop Davidson with three blockers.
"She's awesome," said Catonsville's top hitter, Shannon Rexrode, who had 32 kills. "She can hit everywhere. She's a great player."
As it did in its semifinal victory over North Caroline, Glenelg (18-3) found itself trailing 2-1 after three games.
The Gladiators trailed in the first game, 13-9, then won six straight points. Glenelg took a 6-0 lead in the second game -- it did the same in the first -- and built its advantage to 14-5. Amazingly, it lost the game, failing six times on its serve. In the third game, the Comets took a 12-3 lead and never looked back.
The Gladiators fell behind, 3-0, in the fourth game, but rallied for -- an 8-3 lead and held on to force the fifth game.
With Davidson and Rexrode trading kill shots, Catonsville (15-4) took a 9-6 lead. The Comets failed to win a point on their next eight serves, and Glenelg took a 13-9 lead. Catonsville, trailing 14-12, served to get within one, but Davidson answered with a kill shot.
Davidson's 342nd kill shot of her career ended the match and gave Glenelg its second title in three years. Davidson's sister, Marisa, led the Gladiators to the 1992 title, with the help of her younger sister.
But this was Elisa's team, one that she never thought would get this far.
"The coaches said at the beginning of the season we had the potential to win the state," said Davidson, who tied Reig with 23 assists. "I didn't believe them."
But with a player of Davidson's ability -- and a good supporting cast around her -- anything is possible.
"Elisa had an outstanding match," said Glenelg coach Marlene Janis. "But I want to give credit to the rest of the team."