Trisha Mockapetris is a captain on second-ranked Centennial's volleyball team — as a sophomore. On Tuesday, she showed why.
Mockapetris stepped up big when it counted the most and led the Eagles (5-0) to a 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25 victory over top-ranked and neighborhood rival River Hill (5-1) in a Howard County League game.
Behind their front line of Mockapetris (nine kills, three blocks) and All-Metro first-teamers Samantha Brostrom (10 kills, 19 digs) and Liz Brown (19 kills), the Eagles rallied from deficits in the final three games.
"We dug a hole for ourselves, but we managed to climb out of it each time. We had two sophomores play very big roles today, Eagles coach Larry Schofield said, referring to Mockapetris and Lexi White-Torreullas, "and I'm thrilled they played as well as they did."
The serving of senior Sarah Okey (20 kills) broke open a 20-20 game and helped give the Hawks the first set, 25-22. River Hill looked like it would run away with the match when it jumped out to a 15-10 lead in the second set, but Centennial did a good job of regrouping. The Eagles used a block by May Yang to tie the game at 21 and got a kill each from Brostrom and Brown to tie the match at one game apiece, 25-23.
In the third set, the Hawks again took a 14-9 lead on an ace by Carolyn Kleinberger, but the Eagles used aces by Kelsey Gibbons and Grace Chao to score nine of the next 13 points and tie the match at 18. Centennial took the lead for good, 20-18 on a Mockapetris block and won the set, 25-22.
The Eagles appeared to lose their focus in the fourth set, and the Hawks rode seniors Okey and Megan Rosburg (nine kills) to a 19-10 lead. Again, the Eagles rallied. They used two kills by Mockapetris and aces by Katelyn Brehm and Carly Simenauer to final tie the score at 23. With the game tied at 25, a tip by Brown and a kill by Brostrom secured the match for the Eagles, 27-25.
Mockapetris comes from quite a pedigree. Her sister Tehia played on three straight state championship teams for Centennial and is now the Eagles' assistant coach.
"We dug deeper today," Mockapetris said. "I am finally becoming the hitter I want to be. I want to get better and just keep growing as a player."
The loss was especially bittersweet for the Hawks, who defeated Centennial for the regional championship last year on the road.
"They took advantages of our mistakes and used them against us," said Rosburg, a senior and another first-team All-Metro player last season. "We need to get back in the gym and work harder. Experience is gained through failure, and we'll grow from this."