It has been said many times that high school volleyball is a game of momentum. Top-ranked Mount de Sales learned all about that Thursday night - the hard way.
The host Sailors (18-1) were kept off balance most of the night by a strong Good Counsel front line and saw their undefeated season end, 25-18, 14-25, 28-26, 25-23, in the Maryland/D.C. Private Schools championship.
"We let our intensity down, and they took advantage of it," said Mount de Sales junior Hannah Schmidt (22 kills, 20 digs, five aces). "They just fought for it a little harder than we did."
The teams split the first two games, and the Sailors appeared to be in control in the third, using two kills and two aces by Schmidt, as well as three kills and two aces by Katy Buck (20 kills, 20 digs, four kills) to build a 16-9 lead. Good Counsel (25-3), which won the tournament for the fourth time, came roaring back.
The Falcons, ranked No. 10 in the latest Washington Post volleyball poll, got several key kills from junior Meagan Donohoe (18 kills, nine digs), and senior Jenna Campbell (15 kills, 11 digs, three aces) to tie the score at 22. After the teams traded a few points, the Sailors took a 26-25 lead on a kill by Schmidt. Schmidt, a prolific server, stepped to the line and committed a service error, tying the score at 26. The Falcons, behind the serving of Campbell, scored the next two points to take the game.
The fourth game was tight throughout, but the Sailors had a 23-22 lead with Buck, another great server, on the line. Again, they failed to capitalize, and Good Counsel scored the next three points to win the match.
"A few things just didn't click for us," said Buck, who will attend Towson University and play volleyball next year. "We just didn't have the fire that we usually do."
Sailors coach Monica Owensby said the Falcons' big-game experience benefited them down the stretch.
"They are used to being in that situation," Owensby said. "When they made an error, they would learn from it and fight through it. When you're in a game like this, it's the little things that matter. We had a few more errors, and they turned our negatives into positives for them."
Chelsea Owensby had 22 assists in the loss for the Sailors.