For Centennial senior Trisha Mockapetris, Wednesday night’s Maryland 3A semifinal game at Ritchie Coliseum was the penultimate step toward redemption. For sophomore Meghan Kelley, it was a chance to begin writing her own legacy. Together, the pair was an offensive force that powered the Eagles past La Plata, 25-13, 25-14, 25-10.
The win advanced Centennial (18-0) to its second appearance in the state title match in three years. The memory of the 2010 final, when the heavily favored Eagles were upset by Towson in five sets, weighs heavily on the team’s seniors, Mockapetris said, and will be motivational fuel for them Friday to add to the Howard County school’s state-record 14 championships.
“We’re back to avenge our loss. We want to win,” senior Lexi White-Torreullas said. “We want to be able to come back 10 years later, look at the wall, and be like, ‘That was my state championship.’ We’re winning for us. We’re winning for the team two years ago. We’re winning for all Centennial players. We’re coming back. This is our year.”
“We’re bringing the tradition back to Centennial,” Mockapetris added. “We just have to start it again. We took a little break, a couple years for rebuilding, but now it’s time for us to full-force take lead and head into the future with this.”
Centennial’s offense was dominant throughout the first two sets Wednesday night, scoring 10 points on kills in the first set and 15 via kills in the second. Both Mockapetris and Kelley finished with 10 kills to lead the Eagles, and Kristen Ritchie added seven kills. On defense, Centennial allowed La Plata just 16 kills and held all but one Warrior to three kills or fewer.
“Give them the taste of what it’s like, the energy out there, the pageantry, the tradition. Hopefully they can carry that torch,” Centennial Coach Larry Schofield. “Trisha’s my terminator right now, but you can see Meghan’s right hot on her heels. And you need that terminator.”
The Eagles’ offensive onslaught began to pay dividends in the third set, when Centennial’s consistent attack finally wore down the Warriors, who fell in the state semifinals for the third consecutive year.
“I just think they lost a little bit of confidence and got a little nervous and just fell apart. When you’re not mentally in the game you just can’t pass,” La Plata Coach Catherine Lavery said. “We started to come through and I saw my team out there, but it didn’t last.”
Centennial will get its shot at the state championship Friday night at 8 p.m. against Washington County’s North Hagerstown, which beat Bel Air, 25-19, 25-10, 25-11, in Wednesday’s early semifinal.