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Westminster defeats Towson in straight sets to reach Class 3A state volleyball final

Westminster sophomore Jilenne Widener had 20 kills and five aces to lead the Owls to a 25-22, 25-12, 25-15 victory over Towson in the Class 3A state semifinals Tuesday night at Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland.

Westminster, making its second appearance in the state tournament, will play in the finals Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Northern-Calvert, which defeated Atholton, 3-1.

Towson was making its 16th appearance in the state tournament and third straight.

The Generals won state titles in 2001 and 2010.

Westminster started each set with an ace by setter Emily Bartlett, and the team finished with 21 aces, compared with Towson’s six.

Widener had five kills in the first set, and the Owls pulled away when they scored six straight points to take a 10-4 lead with libero Hannah Jones on the service line.

“You just have to go back there thinking and being disciplined and focusing on every ball,” Jones said.

Westminster built a 23-14 lead when Towson made a frantic rally with eight straight points to cut the lead to 23-22 with Taylor Mann on the service line.

Mann had a kill, Tyanna Butler had two kills and setter Logan Marsh had three blocks during the run that ended on a hitting error.

With Westminster up 24-22, an ace by Owls senior Sarah O’Donnell ended Towson’s comeback attempt.

“I really stress just going back there and being confident and knowing my team is behind me and it’s really awesome to get a nice serve, it pumps everybody up,” O’Donnell said.

Towson coach Emily Berman, who played on the Towson state championship team in 2001 and coached the team in 2010, was baffled by the first set.

“The end of the first game they showed me they are capable of putting everything together and playing well,” Berman said. “I think I’m shocked because I think we probably hit our peak on Friday [with a…

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