Loch Raven stifles Catonsville

September 21, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

To say that No. 4 Loch Raven sweated out a 15-11, 9-15, 15-12, 15-7 victory over No. 7 Catonsville in the season opener for both teams certainly would be truthful.

In more ways than one.

Loch Raven first needed to overcome the stifling heat in the Catonsville gymnasium yesterday. The temperature soared to 85 degrees by the final game, and Loch Raven coach Carol McPherson said it made her team wilt a bit at times -- especially in the second game.

The Raiders also had to fight off a stubborn Catonsville team. The two teams played three times last year -- with Loch Raven winning twice -- and the Raiders suffered from a slight case of nerves.

"Last year, they were our biggest competition," said Loch Raven hitter Kelly Powell. "We didn't know what to expect."

The Raiders also needed to find their own consistency. They played well at times in the first two games, but Catonsville cut down on its mistakes to win the second game and tie the match at one.

The Raiders finally began to click late in the third game. Trailing at one point, 11-9, Loch Raven scored six of the final seven points, the last one coming on a perfectly placed dink from Powell, to seal the victory.

"That gave us momentum," said McPherson.

And the Raiders then began to roll. Jebry Simon started the fourth game with two aces and served five straight points as Loch Raven jumped to a 5-0 lead. The low line-drive serves from Simon gave Catonsville fits throughout the match as three times she served for at least three straight points.

Shannon Towner, Simon and others started doing a good job of getting the ball to Powell at the net. The 6-foot Powell used a variety of well-placed kills and dinks to help the Raiders stretch the lead to 9-2. A Towner dink on match point gave Loch Raven the victory.

"When Shannon and I can work together at the net, we have a good time up there," said Powell. "When we can work together, it adds an element to the game."

Catonsville played with Loch Raven for much of the match, but mistakes eventually proved fatal.

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