So much for tradition. So much for the conventional wisdom that says inexperience leads to postseason disappointment.
With Huntingtown's 25-21, 17-25, 26-28, 25-21, 15-6 win over visiting Severna Park on Friday night in the Maryland 3A South Region final, the Hurricanes fended off history and instead carved a piece of their own legacy.
It's all uncharted territory for the first-year school, which drew students from Calvert, Northern and Patuxent. It now has its first regional championship in any sport. Two more wins and the Hurricanes will become the first volleyball team to win a state title in its first year.
"There weren't any standards for us to have to worry about," said senior Allison Miller, a transfer from Calvert. "So we just went out there to give it our best and see what happens."
The Hurricanes' shot at history starts Wednesday in the state semifinals at the University of Maryland in College Park when they face either Seneca Valley or Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
For a team that had only three players with varsity experience on its roster, the Hurricanes didn't seem to have any typical playoff jitters. They were a point away from winning before dropping the third game and trailed in each of the first four games, yet it didn't seem to matter.
To be fair, those three players played a large part in the victory, as has been the case all season. Miller had a game-high 13 kills, junior Alex Sita added a game-high 41 assists and senior Kristyn Jeschelnik was 16 for 16 serving.
"The younger players have definitely had to draw from their leadership," said Huntingtown Coach Cheryl Lord, who has coached at the three other Calvert County schools and won two state titles with Northern. "They set an example. Allison left a state-championship-caliber program in Calvert, and I'm glad she did because she's been a great role model."
Huntingtown (15-2) had faced a fifth game only twice this season, losing each of them. But time and again Friday, the Hurricanes worked the ball over to Miller on the outside during the fourth game, while Jeschelnik's serving closed out the final two.
"This team has never given up in any game that we've been in," Lord said. "This is the first fifth-game match that we've won. We said during the match: 'Just draw from that experience. You've been in this position before.' "
So Calvert County, which has produced a state champion in each of the past 10 years, can continue its run. More important, it means that Huntingtown's newly christened gym, one bereft of any championship banners, finally has one to call its own.
Said Jeschelnik, "We just wanted that banner."