All season, Mount de Sales Academy volleyball coach Monica Owensby has challenged her squad to show its still among the area’s elite despite graduating five seniors off last season’s roster including the area’s Player of the Year Katy Buck (now at Towson University). Against a powerhouse field at the Bulldog Tournament of Champions at North Caroline Saturday, the No. 3 Sailors rose to the occasion.

Mount de Sales defended its crown, outlasting No. 4 Towson, 25-19, 22-25 and 15-13, in the title game. The Catonsville school went undefeated (5-0) against a field that included defending Class 4A champ Broadneck, Towson, Class 2A state finalist and host North Caroline and 3A South region finalists Huntingtown.

The Sailors defeated Towson, Huntingtown and Chesapeake-Anne Arundel in pool play and earned a bye into the semifinal round. In the semifinals, Mount de Sales swept South River, 25-14 and 25-16 as Hannah Schmidt had five kills and senior Caroline Casey added four kills and two block kills.

Chelsea Owensby had 11 assists and two aces in the semifinal win for the Sailors with Taylor Beaumont adding seven kills and Megan Sedney finished with four aces. Towson defeated Broadneck in the other semifinals, setting up Round Two between the Sailors and Generals.

Towson was able to negate Mount de Sales’ height on the front with stellar defense. After going back and forth in the decisive third game, Towson forged to a 13-10 lead before Mount de Sales rallied with five straight points to earn the repeat.

Schmidt had five kills and five aces and Casey finished with nine kills and five block kills. Chelsea Owensby finished with 31 assists and Taylor Beaumont and Lily Glenn combined for 17 kills.

Mount de Sales, the two-time defending IAAM A Conference champs, return to league play Monday afternoon at No. 15 Bryn Mawr School. Towson plays at Loch Raven Tuesday.