No. 1 Eagles stutter, then rip Scorps Centennial wins 3 straight after beating the jitters

September 18, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

This was not the way Centennial had planned to open its season. Midway through the first game yesterday against visiting Oakland Mills, the No. 1-ranked Eagles found themselves trailing, 9-5.

Centennial coach Mike Bossom called a time out. "We had to settle down," Bossom said.

"We made a lot of mistakes," said Meredith Price, the team's only senior. "First-game jitters, I guess."

Bossom's message to his team was simple and effective. "We slowed it down and went to the basics," said Bossom, whose team has won five straight county titles. "Once we got the basics back, we were able to go to the next level."

That meant trouble for No. 15 Oakland Mills. The Eagles scored eight straight points following the time out and won the first game, 15-11. They played with greater confidence as the match went on and easily won the next two games, 15-6 and 15-1.

"We started off real well, but once Centennial started firing off, we went into a shell," said Oakland Mills coach Kim Rosado. "We are capable of playing with anybody. [My players] just have to know it. We'll play better next time."

The Scorpions took leads of 6-3 and 9-5 in the opening game before Centennial rallied for a 13-9 advantage behind the serves jTC of Melissa Bossle and Lisa Chapman. Chapman, the only sophomore on the team that includes eight juniors, finished with six aces.

The Scorpions served well at the start of the match, but the quality deteriorated as the match progressed, and they never got into an offensive rhythm.

Centennial never trailed in the second game, taking a 7-2 lead before Oakland Mills called time out. The Eagles won the next three points after the time out, and Price later served out the game.

Centennial won the first six points of the third game before its own error allowed Oakland Mills a point. Price, an All-Metro performer last year, ended the match with three excellent jump serves.

Price, the go-to hitter and the player the Eagles look up to most, was glad to finally have played a game.

"We've been practicing since Aug. 19 and hadn't even played a scrimmage," said Price. "We were game crazy. We were a bit over-excited. But we definitely pulled out of it in the second and third games."

Said Bossom: "I'm happy with the way we came back. They kept a positive attitude. There are certainly things we can do better, and that's what we'll work on in practice."

Bossom has installed a new offense this season, one that features a lot of movement and gives his players more decision-making responsibilities on the floor.

"It requires that we really know each other," said Price, whose team had won four straight Class 3A state titles before losing last year in the East Region final to eventual state-champion Mount Hebron. "We showed a little bit of how complex it can be in the third game, but nothing compared to what you'll see in the future."

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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