Fallston gave Marriotts Ridge a detailed lesson in power volleyball Monday night. Shannon Webb and Rachael Holehouse were the teachers.
Webb finished with 20 kills and Holehouse added 19 as they helped the No. 5 Cougars take advantage of their decided edge in power and roll to a 25-13, 25-14, 25-20 victory over No. 14 Marriotts Ridge in the Class 2A state championship at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.
The Cougars finished with a 19-2 record on their way to their first volleyball state title while the Mustangs ended at 11-8 and made their first trip to the state final.
But Fallston took a lot of the fun out of the Mustangs' initial trip, needing only 69minutes to lock up the state title -- with strong hitting paving the way.
"You can watch and prepare for us, but you can't know what it's like until you're on the court," said Fallston coach Alison Winaker, who played for the school's state semifinalists 10 years ago. "They hit it hard."
Webb, a 6-foot junior outside hitter, constantly crushed the ball at the net. Also an outside hitter, Holehouse, a 5-5 senior, can really jump and repeatedly hit the ball hard.
That hitting seemed to wear Marriotts Ridge down at times. Setter Abby Claborn kept both Webb and Holehouse busy with 38 assists, constantly feeding the pair at the net, giving them numerous good chances.
"It was our defense, which led to good passing, which led to good sets and power kills," Holehouse said.
The power kills played a big role in helping the Cougars reel off a bunch of points in the first and second sets. Marriotts Ridge held an 8-7 lead in the first set before Fallston scored eight straight points to take command. Webb got kills on three straight points as the Cougars pulled away.
In the second set, the Mustangs stayed close early. Fallston was hanging on to a 12-11 lead when Holehouse recorded a kill and Webb added back-to-back kills that started a nine-point run to turn that set into a rout.
Marriotts Ridge fell behind 20-13 in the third set. But the Mustangs cut it to 23-20 before Fallston wrapped up the match with the final two points. Meredith Krzys helped the Marriotts Ridge offense with eight assists and nine digs.
"We were outmatched offensively," Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Olsen said. "We knew what to expect. They just outmatched us."