It was a match that the Calvert and Huntingtown volleyball teams had circled on their schedules.

And even though the Hurricanes put up a fight on their home court Tuesday night, the Cavaliers weren't ready to give up their Southern Maryland Athletic Conference crown just yet.

After splitting the first two games, Calvert rallied for a 25-13, 24-26, 25-20, 25-17 victory.

"It's a huge deal to get this win," said senior hitter Whitney Johnson. "We've won this five years in a row and worked hard to really come together as one to get this win tonight."

But it didn't come easily.

Calvert (12-0, 8-0) seized the momentum early with an impressive run of 22 straight points and seemed to be headed for a rout.

But the Hurricanes (11-2, 8-1) clawed their way back and tied it when Jess Gaetano split two defenders to give Huntingtown an emotional 26-24 second-game win.

"I wasn't real thrilled to lose that second game after how we played early," Calvert Coach David Redden said. "At that point, I told them just to go back to fundamentals -- pass the ball, set the ball, hit the ball."

More often than not, the hitting came from Johnson.

Early on, Huntingtown's Andrea Miller kept Johnson in check with a few key blocks. But the Hurricanes' unforced errors and the crisp passing of Calvert proved to be too much.

"We were never really able to get into our rhythm, but I think we did a good job on Whitney," said Huntingtown Coach Cheryl Lord. "You have to hand it to her, though. She's a great hitter. When she connects, it's a beautiful sight to see."

The Hurricanes saw plenty of that in the final game, when Calvert's final 10 points included four kills from Johnson and a block.

"It takes a total team effort, including pinpoint setting," said Redden, who credited junior Sarah Cobaugh with helping get Johnson into the game. "Whitney is definitely a weapon, but she can't do it alone."

Both teams hope that the playoff-like atmosphere at Huntingtown is a good tuneup for the state tournament, set for Nov. 17-18, where Huntingtown (3A) and Calvert (2A) will compete in different classes.

"Right now, it's a matter of getting from here to here," said Lord, raising her hand from waist-high to above her shoulder. "Playing in games like this can only help us get there.

"We just need to build on the experience."

Huntingtown's Jess Gaetano splits two Calvert defenders, including Molly Herring, to give the Hurricanes a 26-24 second-game win. But the Cavaliers went on to win the next two games.Calvert's Whitney Johnson, center, celebrates with teammates after the victory. "It's a huge deal to get this win," she said.Huntingtown's Lauren Fowler, top, and Alex Sita look to see if their shot made it over the net. The shot was in, but Huntingtown lost the last game, 17-25.