Panthers escape Eagles in playoff thriller
— The first four sets were not enough to determine a winner.
While the score was tied at 2 as Perryville and Bohemia Manor headed to a decisive Game 5, each of the previous four sets had been decided by at least six points. The fifth game would be very different.
The Panthers scored the first three points. The Eagles answered with the next three.
Perryville led the set 5-3 and 6-4, but Bohemia Manor scored three straight points to reclaim a 7-6 advantage. Panthers coach Matt Borrelli called timeout.
Following the break came the longest volley of the night. After several minutes and a handful of improbable plays from both teams to keep the ball alive, Perryville earned the point to tie the set at 7.
“As that was going on, in my mind I was thinking ‘Whoever takes this play is probably going to win the match,’” Borrelli said. “There were so many great plays on both sides of the net, I just thought whoever won that play would have the momentum and it would probably cary them until the end. But then it went all the way to 15-13, so it was still tight all the way to the end.”
The Panthers took the lead on the next point and won the set, 15-13, to take the match 3-2.
Perryville never surrendered the lead once it went on top, 8-7, but there were five more ties before the Panthers won the set.
“That was the type of game where both teams deserve to win — it’s a shame that one team had to win and one team had to lose,” Borrelli said. “I think both teams definitely deserve to win.”
The Eagles won the first game, 25-19. Perryville took the next two by scores of 25-13 and 25-19, respectively, to put Bo Manor on the brink of elimination from the 1A East Region Volleyball Tournament.
Trailing 6-5, Delaney Midash served four straight points that put the Eagles ahead for good in the fourth set. They won 25-14 to force the decisive fifth game.
“I told them to let the emotion ride, but don’t let it overrule you. I think they played with their hearts,” Bo Manor coach Sabrina Larmer said. “They knew it wasn’t over. They just kind of picked each other up and they knew what they had to do. We had a game plan and they stuck to it and I think that’s what helped up get back into the fifth set.”
Perryville senior Gabby Goodnow, who recorded 15 kills, three blocks and three digs on the night, said letting go of the fourth set was key to winning the fifth.
“I think you really have to forget your mistakes because it’s hard to move on if you keep dwelling on past mistakes,” she said. “We’re a strong team but they really gave us everything we could handle tonight.”
It was the first time Perryville has played five games in the past two seasons.
“That’s not the way you want to win in five, to lose the first and fourth. That’s really odd. That’s kind of a roller coaster,” Borrelli said. “We haven’t played a fifth set in two seasons, so it’s not something that we’ve had experience with the last couple of seasons. But credit to our girls, I think our experience and our continuity as a team really paid off. A lot of heart, a lot of hustle out on the court, I think that’s what really helped us in the fifth set.”
The Cecil County rivals met in the first game of the season, a 3-1 win for Perryville. Borrelli and Goodnow each complimented how much Bo Manor had improved since then. The Panthers win Wednesday also marked the fifth-straight year that they have eliminated the Eagles from the postseason.
“That’s the best I’ve seen them play in years. Sabrina does a great job getting them prepared,” Borrelli said. “Their blocking was fantastic. They kind of shut down Gabby and Teri [Wennersten] at times. It was just a great game and my hat’s off to Bo Manor. They played their hearts out and they should be proud of how they played.”
Perryville advances to host North Dorchester in the East Region Final at 5 p.m. Friday.
“We definitely wanted to walk out of here with a win and we walked in thinking that we would. We worked so hard and I just told them that if we had to walk out of here with a loss tonight, that’s how I wanted to leave — with a fight. I think they accomplished that. They fought for everything,” Larmer said. “It just happened to go in Perryville’s favor again this year.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Perryville celebrates after defeating visiting Bohemia Manor 3-2 in the 1A East Region Section I Volleyball Final on Wednesday.