HAGERSTOWN —North Hagerstown’s volleyball team left Damascus heartbroken again in the playoffs.
A year ago, the Hubs went into the Hornets’ gym and beat them 25-23, 25-23, 25-11 for the Maryland Class 3A West title on the way to their first state championship.
On Wednesday, with third-seeded Damascus seeking revenge in North’s gym, the second-seeded Hubs dug deep to battle back from a 2-1 hole and kept their bid to repeat as state champs alive with a thrilling 25-19, 17-25, 25-27, 30-28, 16-14 victory in the 3A West semifinals.
“It was a huge win tonight,” North coach Megan Crawford said. “We started off with a lot of intensity. Everybody was involved. If we made a bad pass, we would forget about it and move on. We dropped Games 2 and 3 because of lack of consistency. Coming back in Game 4 and winning a tight game helped give the girls confidence for Game 5. We need to come out on Friday with the same intensity.”
North (15-1), which has won 15 straight matches, will host Friday’s 3A West final against third-seeded Linganore (13-4) at 6 p.m. The Lancers upset top-seed Tuscarora in five sets in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Senior middle hitter Peyton Wallech had another fine performance at the net Wednesday, finishing with 15 kills and three blocks to lead the Hubs’ attack.
“I give credit to my setter (Sarah Bentley) and all of my passers,” Wallech said. “If I didn’t have those passes and sets, then I wouldn’t have gotten my kills. I was very proud of my team. When we were down two games to one, we knew that we had to battle hard or our season would be over. Every single person on our team wanted it. We want to go back to states again.”
Bentley had 42 assists, with Michey Moody coming up big outside with 15 kills and Zoe Schreiber adding 10 kills for the Hubs. Alexis McCarthy led the defense with 16 digs.
Autumn Jenkins — a senior who has verbally committed to Delaware — led Damascus (12-4) with 18 kills.
With its season on the line in Set 4, Christine Randall’s five-point service run gave the Hubs a 20-17 advantage. It didn’t last for long, as the two teams battled their way to a 28-28 tie.
The Hubs won the next point to get within a point of forcing a fifth set, and Moody’s kill made it happen.
The fifth-set race to 15 wound up going a little longer, with both teams battling to a 14-14 tie. Wallech’s block gave North a 15-14 lead and put them a point from victory — which Wallech finished off with a kill.
Linganore played several Washington County teams earlier this season. The Lancers lost to both Williamsport and Smithsburg in three sets, beat Clear Spring in four and defeated South Hagerstown in three.