COLLEGE PARK -- Forgive South Carroll coach Marcia Kunkel if the coincidence is a little too much for her.
In 1994, Kunkel played on a Centennial volleyball team that defeated South Carroll for the Class 3A state title. Saturday, she will be on the bench as her Cavaliers (12-6) play Boonsboro for the Class 1A state volleyball championship.
South Carroll took advantage of its superior defense and passing to defeat Havre de Grace, 25-15, 25-16, 22-25, 25-14, in the state semifinals yesterday at Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland.
"I knew we were capable of this since the first day of practice," Kunkel said. "The girls have worked hard all season to get to this point, and we are thrilled to get another shot at Boonsboro."
South Carroll kept the Warriors (5-12) on their toes all evening, using passes to set up hitters Lindsay Will and Caitlin Sengebusch with kills. Havre de Grace fought off a Cavaliers rally to win the third game 25-22, but by then it was too late.
"We didn't pass the ball well," Warriors hitter Lindsey Gilhooly said. "We are used to our gym at Havre de Grace High, and I think the atmosphere intimidated us a little bit."
For South Carroll, the trip to the final is a chance at redemption for its 3-0 loss at Boonsboro on Oct. 11.
"We're playing our best volleyball right now," junior Mary Harshman said. "We are playing as a team, and when we do, we're hard to beat."
In the first 1A semifinal, Washington County's Boonsboro (13-4) used superior net play and a key injury to Glenelg captain Casey Schmidt to advance to its first state championship since 1985 with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-13 win over the Gladiators (13-6).
Schmidt, Glenelg's setter, spraining her foot early in the first game, and the Glenelg offense never adjusted to her loss.
The Gladiators' offense "is built around having her as our setter," Glenelg outside hitter Briana Allen said. "Losing her was very hard. We just didn't talk and committed too many unforced errors after that."
The Gladiators appeared to overcome the loss, tying the first game at 19 with a late rally. Boonsboro, behind the serving of Rebecca Demers, scored six of the final nine points to put the game away.
Glenelg took a 17-15 lead in the second game, but Boonsboro's front line of Tara Garver (five kills), Brynn Arnone (six kills) and Alison Griffith (10 kills) took control of the net and recorded a 24-21 victory in the second game.
The Gladiators trailed the entire third game before falling 25-13 on a kill by Arnone.
"I'm an optimist, so I think our glass was half full," said Allen, a senior. "We played tough and stepped it up. It just wasn't enough."