Last year, Avery Gabbard and her Broadneck teammates could call themselves state champions. They couldn't, however, claim to be Anne Arundel County champions.
Now they can.
After dropping the first game to rival Severna Park, the No. 4 Bruins (13-1) roared back to score a 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-21 title win over the sixth-ranked Falcons at Southern of Anne Arundel.
"I know we won states last year, but it just felt like something was missing," Gabbard said. "I'm a senior this year, so winning now kind of makes up a little for last year."
Broadneck looked like it would sweep the match early, and the Bruins found themselves up 15-5 when Gabbard (8-for-9 serving, two aces, 10 digs, two kills, four blocks) hit an ace in the first game. Severna Park, led by the 6-foot Christi Laite (10-for-10 serving, nine kills), came storming back.
The Falcons (13-2) - behind the serving of Alli Kamsch (six kills) and three kills by Laite - rallied to score 15 of the next 20 points to tie the score at 20. The Falcons got an ace by Samantha Henke (11 kills, five digs), a kill by Trish Kallis (nine kills, two blocks) and a key block by Amanda Joy (31 assists) to take the first game.
"I reminded [the team] to play from the heart and look out for their teammates," Bruins coach Scott Graf said. "If they did that, the rest would take care of itself."
Gabbard added: "We've already beaten them [in the regular season], so I knew we could come back. We just needed to put it behind us and focus."
Notre Dame Prep DEF. MARYVALE, 3-0: : Alexis Sanders had 13 kills and three aces to power the Blazers (15-1) past the Lions in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference semifinal. NDP won, 25-9, 25-19, 25-15. The Blazers will play Mercy for the title at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Roland Park.
BETH TFILOH DEF. ST. TIMOTHY'S, 3-1: : Jen Holzman had five aces and five kills as the Warriors (14-3) beat St. Timothy's (9-5) in an IAAM C Conference semifinal. Beth Tfiloh plays Catholic at 7:45 p.m. tomorrow at Roland Park.
CATHOLIC DEF. GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL, 3-0: : Shelby Carrol served nine straight points to power the Cubs (10-3) past the Dragons (5-10) in an IAAM C Conference semifinal.
MOUNT DE SALES DEF. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING, 3-1: : Kasey Mercier and Katy Buck combined for 45 kills and Buck went a perfect 16-for-16 from the service line to lead the Sailors (14-2) past the Cavaliers (15-4) in an IAAM A Conference semifinal. Kasey Mercier went 12-for-13 from the service line and had 23 kills, Katy Buck (16-for-16) had 22 kills, Hannah Schmidt had three blocks and Kelly McGraw 46 assists. Mount De Sales faces the winner of St. Paul's-Bryn Mawr at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Roland Park.