Over the last two days, Gaithersburg volleyball coach Michele Dillingham often said that propelling her team to the state finals had been the most difficult challenge of her career.
Luckily, last night, winning the state finals proved a little bit easier.
Playing in the Maryland 4A state title game for the first time, Gaithersburg aggressively grabbed control and only let go after it had defeated Dulaney, 25-16, 25-16, 25-21, at the University of Maryland. Senior Amanda Krampf had 20 assists and junior Kaitlin Straiter finished with 11 kills to give Gaithersburg (19-0) its first undefeated season in school history.
The Trojans had long dominated locally, winning region titles four times since 2000. Only Tuesday, though, did a come-from-behind, five-game win over Broadneck finally earn them a spot in the state finals.
"To get over that hump and have the emotional win over Broadneck, and then to come back with this is unbelievable," Dillingham said. "It doesn't get better than this. We kept up our level of play. There was never a letdown."
Gaithersburg only trailed for about two minutes last night, when Dulaney jumped to a 2-0 lead early in the third and final game. The Trojans won five of the next six points and held onto their lead, making most of the third game a constant celebration. Typically, Straiter and Krampf teamed up on many of Gaithersburg's best sequences. Krampf also led the Trojans with four service aces.
"We really played our best game yet, and it was the most important game," Krampf said. "Once we did all that work to get here, we knew we had to finish the job."
Said Straiter: "We just controlled our emotion. During the timeouts, everybody was going crazy. But once we were on the floor, we were pretty calm. We knew what we needed to do."