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Westminster dropped a set in its previous playoff volleyball match, just the third such instance of this season.

The Owls made sure the single-set defeat was a third blip in an otherwise perfect fall campaign. The Carroll County Athletic League champions hosted Mount Hebron on Wednesday for the Class 3A East Region 1 championship, and Westminster flexed its collective muscle once again.

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Led by senior hitter Jilienne Widener, the Owls (16-0) took down the Vikings in straight sets (28-26, 25-18, 25-18) and earned their fourth regional title and third in as many seasons.

Widener led the way with 27 kills and added four digs and three aces. Kasey Thomas, a senior libero, totaled 14 digs, while senior setter Emily Stauder handed out 26 assists. Sophomore middle Cassi Shields came up with four blocks and three kills, and junior Ella Keck added four blocks for Westminster.

Junior Alexis Troy pitched in with 11 assists, and junior Emily Riesner added three kills and three blocks.

Mount Hebron (13-3) led 25-24 in the first set before the home team rallied for an early lead. The Vikings stayed close in the next two sets as well but couldn’t get back into the match. Hebron fell short of getting back to the state tournament for the first time since 2002.

Westminster is set to host a state quarterfinal match Friday. If the Owls win there, they will make a third consecutive trip to University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum for the final four. Westminster lost in the semifinals last year after reaching the state final in 2017.

“They were a good all around team,” Owls coach Evan Frock said via email about Mount Hebron. “They had strong serves, spread their offense well, and blocked well. We were able to adjust and got the momentum at the end of each set.”

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