Dinner at Applebee's was nothing compared with the celebration that erupted afterward for the Broadneck volleyball team. The girls wound up at Coach Romonzo Beans's house -- without him and his wife, assistant coach Beth Beans. To commemorate their second straight 4A state championship, the girls stuffed as many newspapers as could possibly fit into his Toyota truck, from the floor to the roof, then Saran-wrapped it.
"I saw him [Sunday]; we had tryouts for [a club team], and he still hadn't opened it," senior captain Melissa Golob said. "He was like, 'I don't even think it's worth it. It's so tightly shut.' He loves us, though."
Beans said he does indeed love this group of girls, who swept their last two opponents in three games and plastered his house with signs reading "State Champs, Baby!" He loves the girls who defeated Perry Hall, 15-3, 15-7, 15-4, at the Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville on Saturday to win their second state title in three appearances.
"I couldn't ask for a better group of girls," said Beans, who has directed the Bruins to three consecutive 4A East Region titles. "I'm going to miss them, all of them. They're some top-notch girls. To see them go is going to hurt, but I've got a lot of girls who want to come back here and do it again."
Sophomore Kassie Montgomery is one of them. Montgomery, who began the sport last year on junior varsity, shocked her teammates with her skill and improvement. As a substitute for senior middle hitter Cristin Van Dyke, she was constantly in the right place and dug up almost every ball blasted at her.
"I learned a lot," Montgomery said. "I got to play, and that was surprising. I didn't really feel like one of the younger players because I got to play as much as some of the seniors. I think it's awesome. I hope we get it next year so I can keep going."
Broadneck defeated 10 of 12 county opponents in three games this fall. The Bruins' state championship redeemed two regular season losses, to rival Severna Park and a much-improved Arundel team. The Bruins met the Wildcats again in the region quarterfinals and swept them in three games. It was a completely different team.
"When we played Severna Park and Arundel, I think we were full of ourselves or we weren't prepared to fight for it," Van Dyke said. "When we finally opened our eyes and saw we had all this talent on the team and weren't using it, that's when we started to work together as a team."
This year's title was especially meaningful for Van Dyke, who was academically ineligible last year and watched the celebrations from the sidelines. Van Dyke led the team this season with an average of 11 kills and seven blocks per match.
"This year I worked hard and I made sure I was going to be here if we made it and we did," said Van Dyke, who led the team with six kills and four blocks against Perry Hall. "This year I played to make up for last year. I just kept my eye on my grades a lot more. Last year I didn't realize how important it was. This year I made my grades my top priority."
The final match of the season took less than an hour, as Broadneck jumped to a 9-0 lead in the first game. Senior setter Hallie Fuller, who entered the match averaging 19 assists, finished with 14 assists and four aces. Senior Karen Powroznik went 16 of 21 from the service line, with three aces.
"We wanted it so bad, we worked so hard and we loved the results we got," Golob said. "It meant the same, it definitely did, and going out as a senior, winning states again is just great."