Colonels' run ends in volleyball final
Broadneck sweeps Magruder to earn third straight state title
On the opening point of the contest, Bruins senior outside hitter Kourtney Salvarola knocked a Magruder player off-balance with a thunderous attack. The swing, which resulted in the first of her match-high 14 kills, set an early tone as the Bruins ran out to a commanding 13-2 advantage.
"I just didn't think we could pass their serves right out of the gate," said 14-year Magruder head coach Scott Zanni, whose team also lost the 2004 state final to the Bruins. "One of the key themes the whole night was, we had problems with Alli Graf's jump serving."
Broadneck (17-2) easily won the first two sets as Graf and senior Katie Shorter combined for six service aces.
Meanwhile, the Colonels (24-1) uncharacteristically struggled with hitting (.074 percent) and serve-receive. But they began to show signs of life midway through the second frame.
"We just made a lot of mistakes that in the past we would have shaken off," said Colonels outside hitter Michelle Fowle, who finished with 10 kills and 12 digs. "But tonight it just sunk into us and we let our emotions get the best of us."
Facing elimination, the Colonels did not go quietly. Behind seniors Brittany Skrutski (7 kills), Tori Kenno (4 kills, 3 aces) and Fowle they played some of their best volleyball; establishing a 13-5 lead in the third.
But a timeout by Broadneck head coach Scott Graf seemed shifted the momentum back to his squad. From there, the Bruins slowly climbed back into the set.
"I think we were pressing a little too hard and trying to get too many points back [at once]," Graf said. "So I reminded them, You can only earn one point at a time.' … When they decided to go out there and make plays and play to win, we put the pressure back on the other side."
The Colonels failed to capitalize on five opportunities to force a fourth set. The Bruins then took their first lead of the set, 27-26, before Salvarola's service ace clinched their third consecutive state crown and sixth this decade.
"There is a lot of heart on this team," Zanni said. "I knew we weren't going down in that third game without some type of fight. That third game was a slugfest. … I really thought we were going to pull it out and go a fourth game. I really wanted to see what happened then."
Magruder's 24 victories this season established a new school record. The Colonels have won 20 or more matches for seven consecutive years and have not lost to a Montgomery County team since 2007.
Fowle graduates as the program's all-time leader in kills for a season (293), career kills (515) and career victories (88). Setter Xiaoyi Li also established the school's single-season assist total.