When Hereford’s volleyball team defeated Perry Hall during the regular season, the Bulls dropped one set. Coach Dave Schreiner hoped to keep that from happening in Tuesday night’s Baltimore County championship rematch.

The Bulls won the first two sets of the title match, but late in the third, the Gators cut a six-point lead in half and Schreiner called a timeout to reiterate what he had told his team after the second set.

“I told the kids, ‘You do not want them to win a game and get new life, new belief. You’ve got to take one point at a time and you’ve got to end it in this game…’ That’s the kind of team that if you make mistakes, all of a sudden, everything turns.”

The host Bulls answered with six straight points to put away the match, 25-16, 25-14, 25-17, for their second straight county championship and their fourth in the past five years.

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“It’s like all I have wanted this entire season was just to win counties… It means so much,” said Bulls senior Grace Yocham, “This team energy — obviously everyone’s so happy right now and so excited. It’s just amazing. It’s amazing to work as a team and work up to it and succeed as a whole.”

Hereford seniors Lauren Brooks (14) and Grace Yocham (5) combined for 20 kills in No. 13 Hereford’s 3-0 Baltimore County championship victory over Perry Hall Tuesday night. The Bulls (15-1) have won14th straight matches. (Kathy Dunn)

Yocham, a 6-foot outside hitter, led the Bulls with 12 kills while Lauren Brooks, a 5-8 senior outside hitter, had eight.

The Bulls (15-1) have won 14 straight matches and lost only three sets since their only setback, a 3-1 loss to Fallston on Sept. 7.

Perry Hall, playing in its first county championship in 27 years, didn’t make it easy for the Bulls to break away.

An exceptionally strong defensive team around the net, the Gators (11-3) blocked well and dug a lot of balls near the 10-foot line. They didn’t let the Bulls get away with tipping the ball over for easy points.

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They just could not capitalize on enough of the points they saved. Losing senior setter Jasmine Sykes after she rolled an ankle in the first set disrupted the Gators offensive rhythm for the rest of the match. Senior Kaley Horton did an admirable job handling all of the setting, but periodic miscommunication led to a handful of uncontested points for Hereford.

“We don’t play a 5-1 ever, so that was tough,” Perry Hall coach Laura Britton said, adding that finishing was their biggest problem. “They got very timid. They were afraid to miss instead of hitting where we know we can hit.”

The Gators never managed to maintain any momentum. Their longest run was four points while the Bulls had four runs of six or more points.

“Perry Hall did not get very many runs at all which is how the game really changes, with runs,” Yocham said, “so we were really able to shut them down on that and we were able to finish on first time, like we got it up, we got a good pass, set and kill first time.”

The Gators had small leads in the first two sets but couldn’t hold them. In the second set, Perry Hall led 8-7 before the Bulls scored 10 straight points on Yocham’s serve. Brooks had two kills in the run and setter Rebecca Fetterolf had a block.

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The final game was tied at 12 before the Bulls went on a 7-1 run. The Gators cut the lead to 19-16 on a kill by Kiersten Chemellli, who led them with five kills. Schreiner then called his last time out.

A Hereford net violation brought the Gators within 19-17 before the Bulls finished off the match with six straight points, including a kill from Grace Perry, two kills from Yocham and two aces from Abi Mak.

“On match point, we were a few points ahead, so I was pretty confident that we were going to come out with a win,” Brooks said. “I was just so excited. I was shaking in anticipation. I was like Abi’s going to get an ace, I know it, and she did.”

Britton said returning to the county championship was a big step for her program. This fall, the Gators lost only to Hereford and to No. 12 Mercy, the IAAM B Conference champion.

“It’s been a long time and I’m really proud of them,” Britton said.

Even though the Gators didn’t take a set this time, she said, “We still did a really nice job regardless, playing and going from a 6-2 to a 5-1 and throwing in people who don’t typically play… We’ve come a long way together.”