The Wildcats (17-1) won their first region championship since 2005 — the year Williamsport won its last of 12 state titles and finished off a run of four straight Class 1A championships.
College Park on Tuesday for the Class 2A state semifinals at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum. They will face the 2A North champion — either Loch Raven (10-6) or Carver Vo-Tech (9-6).
“The girls played with a lot of heart tonight,” said Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree. “I think they want (the state championship) bad and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”
Williamsport faced FSK (15-3) in its final home game of the season on Oct. 22, defeating the Eagles in four sets.
Same opponent, similar result on Friday.
The Wildcats and Eagles played to a near-stalemate in Set 1, with neither team able to get a lead of more than two points.
FSK clawed to a 17-15 lead and forced a Williamsport timeout.
After the break, the Wildcats stormed back with a 5-1 run — with Stacey Christy and Courtney Malott each smacking two kills — to take a 20-18 lead. The Eagles kept the pressure on, rallying for a 24-24 tie, but a double-hit error by the Eagles and a kill by Christy gave Williamsport the set.
A block and a kill by Christy gave the Wildcats a 16-12 lead in Set 2. But Taylor Hook put away three kills and Brooke Gallagher had an ace and two assists as FSK tied the set at 16.
“I don’t know what it is, but we get a four-point lead and let them catch up, get a four-point lead and let them catch up,” said Crabtree. “We can’t play with a lead, but we don’t get rattled. They say, ‘Don’t worry coach, we got this.’ I just say ‘OK’ and let them play.”
FSK took a a 22-21 advantage — highlighted by two blocks by Hook and kills by Gabby Fox, Brooke Gallagher and Braedyn Gallagher — but a three-point run by Williamsport on Karli Grimes’ service pushed the Wildcats to set point. A net ball by FSK gave Williamsport a two-set advantage.
The Wildcats made quick work of Set 3, taking a 13-8 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Two straight kills by Grimes punched Williamsport’s ticket to the state semifinals.
“They know how and when to make adjustments on the court to get whatever it is they need,” said Crabtree. “I think we’re ready to make a run at the state title.”
Malott had nine kills, Christy had seven kills and seven blocks, Haley Wolff had seven kills, Grimes and Courtney Malott had six kills each, Emily Taylor had 33 assists and Andrea Nunnally added nine digs for Williamsport.
Hook had 19 kills, three blocks and 14 digs, Braedyn Gallagher had 10 kills and 10 digs, Brooke Gallagher had 18 assists and 16 digs, and Lily Lawler added 12 digs for FSK.