All that came between No. 7 Catonsville and a record-setting eighth state championship was Glenelg's Elisa Davidson.
Davidson pounded down a tournament-record 37 kills, including the match winner, to lead No. 4 Glenelg to a 15-13, 14-16, 9-15, 15-11, 15-12 victory and the state Class 2A championship yesterday at Catonsville Community College.
Catonsville's Shannon Rexrode also broke the old tournament record (27) with 32 kills in the match, and Stacie Healy added 14. Despite the one-two punch of Rexrode and Healy, the Comets could not find a way to counter Davidson's power, especially late in the 2-hour, 20-minute battle.
With the Gladiators (18-3) serving for the match, everyone in the gym knew it was over as soon as Amber Reig set the ball up on the net for Davidson.
"I said, 'Here it comes,' " said Comets coach Debbie Clem. "It wasn't that I didn't think we were going to dig, but I knew where the ball was going. It was Elisa against the six of us, and we didn't have the big block."
Earlier in the match, the Comets (15-4) adjusted their defense to throw a three-man block at Davidson, but even that did not work against a player who compiled 342 kills this season.
Rexrode, who has 335 kills this season, proved almost as unstoppable as Davidson. She set a state tournament record of 12 kills in the fourth game before Davidson broke it with 14 in the fifth.
Behind Rexrode, Catonsville rallied from down 14-5 to win the second game and built an early lead to take the third. Even with Rexrode's 12 kills in the fourth game, the Comets could not recover from a 10-3 deficit.
In the fifth, the Comets won six straight points to take a 9-5 lead after Abigail Clark (39 assists) set up Kate Millard's kill.
After a side out when Jessica Delamater was called for a lift trying to recover a blocked ball, the Comets could not score on their next eight service rotations.
That left a huge opening for Gladiators, and they took advantage, scoring seven straight points for a 13-9 lead.