Dorman had just scored match-point in the fourth game of Tuesday's Class AAAA Upper State semifinal showdown against Rock Hill.
That win enabled Dorman to even the match, 2-2, setting up a decisive fifth game between the No. 1-ranked Lady Bearcats and the defending state champion, Lady Cavaliers.
With momentum rolling in Dorman's favor, the Lady Bearcats huddled up for a little "soul searching," before the start of the finale, which required 15 winning points instead of the 25 for the previous four games.
"Over half of our team consists of seniors, so everyone agreed that we were not going to lose and go out like that," Rock Hill ace Christina Vereb said. "So we put our minds toward getting to every ball; hitting every ball; and score as many points as we could."
That determination was reflected in the Lady Bearcat dominance in Game 5 for a dramatic 15-9 clinching victory, sending Rock Hill into Thursday's Upper State finals against the Riverside-Hillcrest winner.
Rock Hill never trailed in the decisive game. They took a 7-3 lead following consecutive kills at the net from Vereb. Dorman was able to pull within two, 8-6; however, the Lady Bearcats dominated with seven of the next 10 points as senior Karis Watson scored three of the final four points with two kills and a block at the net.
"Our blocking was exceptional; we went out there with the attutitde to block and kill everthing," Vereb added.
Watson agreed, saying that the Lady Bearcats were more aggressive in the finale.
"Our blocking was more effecient and we were all out hustling. When we are aggressive like that, it really helps our defense."
Rock Hill coach Cindy Elder said that the execution was much better in the fifth game, especially at the net.
"Our blocking had not gotten established like we wanted all night," Elder said. "We were not reading each other like we should; we were also not setting, closing, and blocking like we normally do.
"But in the fifth game, we were able to do all of that. We got more blocks in the fifth game."
Elder credited Dorman for their hustle and grit, especially by not having the height advantage.
Rock Hill was able to pull out the opener, 25-22, but Dorman pulled even in the second game, 25-17.
Rock Hill rebounded in game three, 25-12, but the Lady Cavaliers dominated the fourth set, 25-14 to set up the decisive fifth game.
Watson and Vereb had 22 kills each for the Lady Bearcats, who improve to 36-1 overall. Watson had four solo blocks and Makala McCrorey was a key defensively with 25 digs.
The victory was especially sweet for Elder, who was facing off against her college roommate, Paula Kirkland. Both are Winthrop College graduates.
Entering this season, Kirkland had never lost to Elder in head-to-head meetings during their respective coaching tenures of 28 and 29 years, respectively.
Elder ended the drought with a Rock Hill victory during the regular season, but really found reason to smile with Tuesday's playoff win.
"I at least wanted to get one before retiring," she said with a smile.
The Upper State finals between the Riverside-Hillcrest winner will be played at Rock Hill at 6 p.m. on Thursday.