As Reservoir's volleyball team walked off the court following its 25-23, 26-24, 25-21 loss to defending Maryland 2A champion Liberty last night, the players received a standing ovation from the couple of hundred of their fans who packed the bleachers at the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.

Though the Gators had fallen to the top-ranked team in the Baltimore area, their performance -- just like their effort all season -- was reason for applause. The volleyball team was the first squad to play in a state tournament game in any sport at the three-year-old Fulton school.

"Our whole school was behind us all week, and we showed everyone that you can win and go to a state tournament at Reservoir," said sophomore outside hitter Jamie Thomas, who had six kills, second on the team behind junior hitter Lauren Miller's eight. "We stuck with Liberty the whole time, but we just couldn't get that final push."

Liberty (18-0) advanced to Saturday's noon state final at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum, where it will face Rising Sun, which posted a 25-16, 25-7, 25-15 victory over Hereford (15-4) in the preceding semifinal. Reservoir's season ended at 13-6.

Poolesville Edged

The Poolesville volleyball team's season ended just as it had in each of the previous two years: with a loss to Williamsport.

Two-time defending Maryland 1A champion Williamsport posted a 25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23 victory over Poolesville in a 1A state semifinal match in a rematch of each of the previous two state finals.

Williamsport (17-1) advanced to the state final on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Ritchie Coliseum, where it will try to claim its state public school- record 11th title. The Wildcats will face Elkton, a 25-12, 25-15, 25-14 winner over Loch Raven, in the title match. Poolesville, which was led by senior setter Maureen DuVall's team-high eight kills, finished the season 14-3.