Champ dumps No. 2 Severna Park Northern Calvert sweeps Falcons, who lose first

November 02, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

DUNKIRK -- Call it fate, destiny or just plain bad luck in this era of open draws with no seeding.

Whatever it is, the previously unbeaten and second-ranked Severna Park volleyball team found itself on the same court with two-time defending state Class 4A champion Northern Calvert last night in an opening-round 4A East match.

And just like last season, when the Falcons lost in four games to Northern in a second-round 4A East match here, they had no real answers for the Patriots, who cruised to a 15-5, 15-7, 15-13 victory before a packed gymnasium of cheering hometown fans.

The victory not only sents Northern into the second round but most likely established the Patriots as strong favorites to win a third consecutive state Class 4A title.

"I know Severna Park [15-1] thought of this as a state championship match," said Northern coach Beth Incrocci. "As far as we're concerned, I don't want to overlook anybody."

However, the Patriots (16-0) seem to have too much of everything for most high school opponents and should tear through five more teams to the state championship.

"There was nothing we could do to beat them tonight," said Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar. "We couldn't tip on them

because their defense is so good, and we couldn't match them in a power game. They block and dig so well. We would have

had to play a perfect match to beat them. Northern out-passed us, out-served us, and got to balls that we couldn't get to."

The Falcons, who won three straight state 4A titles before relinquishing the crown to Northern Calvert two years ago, didn't come close to performing up to expectations last night.

Severna Park never really got started until the third game, when it rallied from a 9-5 deficit to surge ahead 10-9 behind some outstanding play by freshman Lauren Bessire, junior Julie Gosewisch and senior Rachael Benton.

But Northern quickly retaliated for four straight points and finished off the Falcons, 15-13.

"I didn't want my season to be over with," said Benton amid tears of disappointment. "Our serving has been hurting us lately, and it hurt us again tonight. We also didn't pass well. I would love another chance to play them when we were at the top of our game."

The Falcons were obviously tight from the start, falling behind 10-1 in the first game and fighting all night to gain some rhythm.

"We played nearly a flawless match," said Incrocci. "We peaked at the Bulldog Classic [Oct. 5] and have been playing at a high level ever since then. We lost five of six starters from last year and were supposed to be down. I don't think we're as strong as last year, but we win with more a variety of shots than power like last year."

Holly Abbuhl, the only starter back from last year, had seven digs, four blocks and three serving aces for the winners.

Beth Radford had nine kills, seven digs and three aces for Northern, and Katy Coleman led both teams with 10 kills. Brandi Blevins had a superb all-around match for the Patriots with five kills, five digs and four blocks.

Dana Kaegel and Benton each had five kills for Severna Park, which played most of the match without starter Carolyn Page, who is recovering from a back operation.

Pub Date: 11/02/96

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