Given a choice, Broadneck volleyball coach Glenn Braine would have preferred to meet Severna Park later in the season, after his younger players had gained some valuable experience.
Instead, his Bruins learned a valuable lesson; Taking the first game from Severna Park, even in the most dominating fashion, doesn't ensure a victory.
The visiting Falcons shook off an early drubbing -- perhaps their worst ever -- to rally past Broadneck, 0-15, 15-6, 15-6, 15-9 yesterday.
Julie Kasprzak, a 5-foot-9 junior making her first start, had 10 kills and was 15 of 16 serving with two aces to lead top-ranked Severna Park (3-0). Senior setter Jaime Pirotte was 21 of 22 serving with five aces.
Senior Julie Scott had nine kills for Broadneck (1-2), which had beaten Northern, 3-1, and lost to Perry Hall, 3-2, to open the season.
The Falcons had little difficulty winning their first two matches this season, taking 2-0 and 3-0 decisions over Laurel and Annapolis, respectively. The Bruins, regional finalists last year, were expected to provide a stiffer challenge, but no one on the Severna Park side was prepared for what transpired in the first game.
"I don't think that's ever happened to us before. They just plain smoked us," said Falcons coach Tim Dunbar.
"They did everything right, and we did everything wrong."
That would all change.
"We know that wasn't Severna Park over there [in the first game], their typical team," Brainer said. "We just put the pressure on them. But we knew that wasn't going to happen the second and third games. We knew Severna Park was going to come right back at us."
With Pirotte serving, the Falcons took a 3-0 lead in the second game. The score was tied three times, the last at 6-6, before Pirotte closed the game by serving nine straight points.
The game ended with senior Catherine Kirk hitting a winner off a Pirotte set.
Severna Park built leads of 7-1 and 10-3 in the third game, behind the powerful hitting of senior reserve Lori Sharpless. Brainer had used his two allotted timeouts when he signaled for another with Broadneck trailing, 14-6, which resulted in a loss of point -- and the game.
The Falcons trailed just once in the fourth game, 1-0, but they had to withstand a furious Broadneck rally that in which the hosts scored four straight points to make it 10-9. Kasprzak returned service to Severna Park, which nailed down the match when Broadneck was unable to return Jen Conner's serve.
"In the first game, we weren't working together," Kasprzak said. "In the second game, we all came together and were a team again."
"We're real happy with what we did," said Brainer, whose squad got off to a 1-2 start last year, but didn't lose again until the playoffs. "Our team has a long way to go. We have nowhere near gotten as good as we're going to be."
They looked awfully good in the first game, riding the serves of Dana Etzel, Jen Rapczynski and Krissi St. Clair.
"[The Falcons] knew what had gone wrong. They knew Broadneck came pumped, and they knew they had made errors," Dunbar said.
"It was more of a case of fine-tuning."