Centennial pounded Towson in the first two games of Friday night's Class 3A state title match. The Eagles used their advantages in size and power to dominate play at the net and move to the verge of a championship.
But No. 4 Towson wouldn't let top-ranked Centennial finish the job. Lauren Bosse and Kelly Lacy helped the Generals continually play solid defense and simply outlast the Eagles, rallying to pull out a 21-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-13 victory at Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.
Centennial (18-1) used its edge in height to control play up front. Samantha Brostrom (17 kills) and Liz Brown (16 kills) overwhelmed Towson (21-0) at the net as they repeatedly got good passes from Grace Chao (26 assists) and Lexi White-Torruelias (22 assists) to take the first two games.
But Towson coach Emily Berman — who played on a state championship team for the Generals — kept pushing her team to keep pushing Centennial.
"We made them keep fighting," Berman said. "That's what we do to people. We wear them down."
They started by winning the first five points of Game 3. The Generals began finding the holes and didn't try to match Centennial's power. Bosse (18 kills) and Lacy (15) made a number of big plays that helped Towson win the game without trailing.
The Generals kept hitting back throughout Game 4, which was tied repeatedly. The game was even at 23 before Towson got the final two points to force the final game.
That's where the Generals took advantage of Centennial's serving troubles. The Eagles made 22 service errors overall — six in that final game to give Towson nearly half of its points.
"You can't miss  serves," Centennial coach Larry Schofield said. "The serves are what killed us."
The serving problems repeatedly opened the door for Towson as neither team was able to run off long stretches of points. Berman emphasized staying patient, and Bosse made play after play at the net.
"I wasn't thinking," she said. "I just did [it]. I just put it where they weren't."
Centennial was going for its 15th state title, and the Eagles were stunned after the match. A few of the Centennial players turned their warm-up tops inside out afterward out of frustration.
"We don't deserve to wear it," Brostrom said.