South Carroll falls in 3A state title game

November 20, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The task at hand was simply overwhelming.

The South Carroll Cavaliers, who turned their fortunes around midway through the regular season and kept the run rolling straight to the state finals, ran up against a Centennial team yesterday that just plays at a higher level.

The top-ranked Eagles (23-1) took charge from the start and came away with a three-game sweep to earn their fourth straight Class 3A state title. The scores were 15-5, 15-10, 15-6 at Catonsville Community Collee.

"I'm proud. It was fun to be here," said South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton. "[Centennial] had excellent blockers and strong hitters. We just don't see anyone that strong until we get all the way here."

The Cavaliers (11-8) didn't have anyone to match up against middle hitter Krisha Svehla.

Setter Sheri Kujawa did a great job of spreading the wealth, with sisters Kelly and Jen West also getting their share of feeds. Kujawa also mixed in an occasional quick set, something the Cavaliers saw little of during the regular season.

After Centennial jumped out to a 10-0 lead on its way to a 15-5 win in the opening game, the resilient Cavaliers still managed to take a 10-4 lead in the second game before the Eagles regrouped to score 11 unanswered points.

Improved serving and some strong net play from senior Nicole Spencer kept Centennial off-balance, but it was only temporary.

Trailing 10-6, Centennial's Meredith Price came up with four kills and Kelly West added another one with Svehla serving out the game.

"Our serving the second game made them play the ball and got them out of their offense," Eaton said.

"Once their offense is set up, they're not going to miss too many hits. I'm sure they came in confident they would win the match, but we made them work for it."

With Centennial leading, 14-3, in the third game, the Cavaliers fought off four match points before the Eagles could celebrate. It was Spencer and fellow senior Melissa Gettemy -- as has been the case all season long -- that made the Eagles earn their final point. Both had a block and a kill in the sequence.

After a sluggish 2-6 start, the Cavaliers won nine of their last 10 -- including a three-game sweep of C. Milton Wright to advance to the state finals. It was their first state playoff appearance since 1986.

"No one thought we would be here," said Eaton. "What turned it around was we knew we had the skill, but lost some close matches early and later on started winning the close matches."

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