COLLEGE PARK -- Last season, Reservoir walked off the volleyball court at Ritchie Coliseum dismayed and dismissed after blowing a two-games-to-none lead and losing the Class 2A state title game to North East of Cecil County.
This year, the Gators would not be denied.
Now in 3A, Reservoir used superior passing and defense to defeat Huntingtown of Calvert County, 25-13, 25-22, 25-19, and win the school's first state championship in any sport.
"I cannot express how proud I am of these girls," Gators coach Carole Ferrante said. "All the drills we did and all the hard work we've put in has all been vindicated."
The win capped an undefeated season for the top-ranked Gators (20-0), who were extended to five games only once this season - in the Howard County title match against River Hill.
"We set our goals as winning the triple crown - the Howard County championship, the regional championship and the state championship," said Reservoir's Alexis Rukenbrod (six digs). "We accomplished them all."
The Gators came out strong in the first game, building a 7-4 lead and never trailing. Reservoir duplicated the feat in Game 2 but had to withstand a charge by Huntingtown (17-2). Trailing 16-10, the Hurricanes scored 10 points off the serve of Marisa Marzilli (10 digs) to take a 20-16 lead.
Reservoir finally caught Huntingtown at 21 and used a key block and a kill by Jamie Huffman (12 kills, 12 digs) to outscore the Hurricanes 4-1 down the stretch.
The Gators led most of the third game and took the lead for good at 19-18 on one of Nicole Lanham's five kills. Six points later, a drive by Julie Poston (10 kills) down the line landed just inside the corner of the court, touching off a wild celebration.
"The whole road here was a challenge for us," Ferrante said. "We had our share of 3-0 wins, but every team [in the playoffs] for us was a challenge. We had to battle all the way."
For Huntingtown, the loss was the third straight in the 3A title game.
"Give Reservoir credit; they have a very good team," Hurricanes coach Shari Turner said. "We played tough, but it just wasn't our day."
No. 3 Broadneck 3, Wootton 2 --If there is one thing that can be said about the 2007 Broadneck volleyball team, it's that the Bruins like to keep it interesting. Rallying from a 2-1 deficit for the third straight match, the Bruins defeated Wootton of Montgomery County, 25-21, 25-27, 23-25, 25-16, 15-8, to win the Class 4A title.
The victory gave Broadneck (21-1) its fourth championship in the past seven years.
After Broadneck lost two of the first three games to Wootton (25-8), the No. 4 seed in the West region, senior Bridgette Jordan (18 digs) said the Bruins again found a way to turn up the intensity.
"I think we got a little too comfortable and kind of let up," Jordan said. "We just decided that we'd come this far and we might as well win it all."
The Bruins took an 11-5 lead in the fourth game by taking advantage of several kills by Caroline Jacobs (14 kills), but Wootton cut the margin to 13-12 behind the serving of Rachel Malinauskas (12 kills, six aces).
Broadneck seemed to sense what was on the line at that point and dominated the rest of the game, scoring 12 of the last 16 points.
In the fifth game, the Bruins used the service of Katie Lim and a dominating net presence by Jacobs and Kourtney Salvarola (13 kills) to break a 6-6 tie and outscore Wootton 9-2 the rest of the way.
"I don't know; I guess they need to get a good sweat going before they really decide to play," Bruins coach Romonzo Beans said. "This team had the desire to take it all the way, and you see what happened.
South Carroll 3, Boonsboro 1 --A month ago, Boonsboro's volleyball team swept South Carroll in three games, but that didn't matter last night.
In the Class 1A state final, the Cavaliers didn't play like underdogs. They played with confidence, showing potent offense and outstanding defense as they upset the Warriors, 25-19, 13-25, 25-15, 25-23, for their first state crown..
The Cavaliers (13-6) polished off a tight fourth game on Mary Harshman's kill after a couple of stellar digs from Candice McDonald kept the point alive.
"It was great," Harshman said. "Honestly, I didn't think I hit it that hard, but I hit it and we ended up winning. I felt pretty good."
Harshman led the Cavaliers with 12 kills. Caitlin Sengebusch had 11 and Lindsay Will had nine. Setter Tianna Quiambao-Panas dished out 22 assists, and Kelsey Franking had 14 digs.
South Carroll coach Marcia Kunkel said she knew the Warriors (13-5) would be confident coming into the match.
"I knew they were going to feel that way, because the team we were a month ago, we're not the same team. We did not play well that day, so they had every right to be confident, but at the same time, we knew what we were capable of," said Kunkel, who played for Centennial's 1994 state title team that beat South Carroll in the Cavaliers' last appearance in the state tournament.
Last night, the Cavaliers set the tone with a strong first game that featured long rallies and stellar defensive plays. Offense and serving carried the Warriors to a second-game victory, but the Cavaliers never backed down, even as Boonsboro rallied to within 24-23 in the final game.
"It was nice being underdogs," said Kunkel, who has only two seniors on her roster. "We've been that for a while at South Carroll. It's going to be different next year, I think."