When the Huntingtown volleyball team advanced to the state semifinals a year ago, Coach Cheryl Lord chalked it up as a valuable experience for her first-year team.
So, on Friday, when the Hurricanes dropped the first game of their 3A South regional final match against Northern, she wasn't surprised when they didn't act like a second-year team.
"They didn't lose their heads over it," Lord said. "We'd dropped two games before and came back to win. We'd dealt with the pressure of the tournament before. They just concentrated on what they had to do."
Huntingtown (15-2) swept the next three games to earn a 17-25, 25-19, 25-15, 26-24 win and another berth in the state semifinals.
Northern, a familiar conference foe, made the Hurricanes earn it. Not only did the Patriots take the first game, but they nearly forced a fifth.
With the Hurricanes trailing 24-23 in the fourth game, Lauren Fowler had a service ace to tie the match. The Hurricanes then capitalized on a Patriots error to take the lead. Then Huntingtown's Andrea Miller ended the match with a cross-court kill from the middle.
The Hurricanes will face the winner of Friday's match between Towson and Catonsville at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Point. The results of Friday's game weren't available at press time.
"We already had that [3A South region] banner on the wall, and I just kept thinking, 'We need to add another,' " Fowler said. "It was a big win. . . . After that last point, I think I pulled a muscle jumping to celebrate."
Lord gives her senior setter, Alex Sita, a lot of the credit for spreading the ball around and leading the kind of varied attack it takes to play at a championship level.
"She gave all of our hitters the opportunity to hit," Lord said of Sita, who had 31 assists and nine digs. "She's so quick and athletic, and after switching positions, she's thinking like a setter this year."
Miller and Kaitlin LeDonne had nine and eight kills, respectively, for Huntingtown, which also had eight downblocks as a team.
Glenelg Bounces Calvert
Calvert lost its 2A regional final matchup Friday in four games to Glenelg, which used an aggressive outside attack to oust the Cavaliers.
"We saw the video from their previous game, and they made a few changes," said Calvert Coach David Redden. "They just killed us on the outside."
Glenelg won 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17 to advance to the state semifinals.