When Centreville finally locked up its four-game victory over Douglas Freeman in last night's Virginia AAA volleyball quarterfinals, Christi Moot wasn't quite sure what to do. The senior outside hitter stood nearly expressionless at midcourt, until her teammates mobbed her in a screaming throng.
Moot's momentary uncertainty was perfectly understandable: Centreville's 15-11, 15-9, 13-15, 16-14 victory marked the first state tournament win for any Northern Region team. The Wildcats (20-3) will have a chance to make further history in a semifinal Friday against First Colonial.
"I guess [the win] took a second to sink in," said Moot, who led Centreville with 21 kills and 38 digs.
"Volleyball is so new here, but we love it and play it with the same passion everyone else in the state does. It's time we showed it to the rest of the state."
The Wildcats have appeared in every state tournament since the Northern Region began sending teams in 1999, and their experience quickly showed against the Central Region runner-up Rebels (16-6).
Behind a nearly impenetrable defense, Centreville closed the first two games with 13-3 and 10-3 runs.
The final two games were tight, but Centreville stayed close with a defense that recorded 134 digs.
Before the final point, the Rebels called a timeout, and Coach Ken Moser urged his team to seize the moment. "We just told them to take care of business," Moser said. "Get it done, and get it done now."
The Wildcats then ended the match with a kill from Rebecca LaBrake (15 kills, 9 blocks, 29 digs).
"In the huddle, somebody said, 'Come on, let's make history,' " recalled senior Mary Dorula, who had 13 kills and four aces. "That was uplifting; everyone picked it up and realized we could actually do it."
Forest Park to Semis
Forest Park junior outside hitter Marisa Gross said she never feels nervous during an important match.
Gross seemed quite the picture of stability during the Bruins' 15-8, 15-5, 15-4 Virginia AAA quarterfinal victory against Kellam. She tallied 21 kills, 13 of which came in the first game, and helped the undefeated Bruins race to their 24th consecutive victory.
"She just kills the ball every single time," senior outside hitter Ali Krieger said. "You feel so secure around her because you know that when you need a point you can get it to Marisa and she'll get the ball on the floor."
Gross's powerful and imposing spike brought the first game's final four points and she also had an ace.
"We relied a lot on Marisa tonight, and sometimes this season that has been the case," Forest Park Coach Dan Jones said. "She was just hitting all over the floor on different parts which made things difficult for their defense."
Forest Park advanced to the state semifinal Friday, for the first time in the three-year school's history, and will face Mills Godwin.
Maryland State Semifinals
Broadneck senior Cristin Van Dyke's block of the first spike of the game set the tone: Her team will end Gaithersburg's pursuit of its first trip to the state championship.
Van Dyke finished with six blocks and six kills to lead the Bruins to a 15-4, 15-8, 15-12 victory over the top-ranked Trojans in the Maryland 4A semifinal at Community College of Baltimore County-Essex. . . . Four days after one of the biggest victories in school history -- a five-game triumph over two-time defending state champion Smithsburg -- Poolesville (11-6) rode that wave of emotion to a three-game sweep over Loch Raven in the Maryland 1A semifinals last night.
The Falcons' 15-3, 15-7, 15-13 victory lifted them into their first state championship match.
Special correspondents Sean P. Flynn and Dave Yanovitz contributed to this report.