Kenwood makes quick work of Franklin, 3-0 Bluebirds win 3A North in 1 hour, 20 minutes

November 09, 1996|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Kenwood's biggest weakness could be considered its major strength.

The Bluebirds use only seven players -- six starters and one reserve, but that lack of depth has created a cohesive, strong-hitting attack. And No. 15 Kenwood didn't have to worry about fatigue, disposing of host Franklin in 1 hour, 20 minutes by taking three straight games, 15-6, 15-13, and 15-9, for the Class 3A North region title yesterday.

The Bluebirds (18-1), whose only loss came against Loch Raven in the Baltimore County Championship game, will face Thomas Johnson in a Class 3A state semifinal match. The Frederick team eliminated North Carroll in a five-game, 2-hour 37-minute match yesterday.

"That's definitely one of our downfalls," said Kenwood coach Susan Costello about her depth. "But what has helped us is that we didn't have those tiffs like recent years. We have really jelled."

Every time Franklin attempted a hard return, Kenwood countered with the lunging blocks of April Connor, Sarah Steinberg and Lisa Wilkinson. Every time the Indians made a long, arching serve, the Bluebirds sent it back with authority behind the strong kills of Kim Griffin, Diane Rawleigh, Christy Diveley and Renee Brown.

In Game 1, back-to-back kills by Steinberg gave Kenwood a commanding 12-1 advantage and caused Franklin to take its second timeout of the contest.

The Indians (9-10), who have raised their game during the playoffs, rallied to post five of the next six points to cut the deficit to 13-6. But the first game ended with two unforced errors by Franklin.

In the second game, Kenwood failed to return three straight serves and Franklin went on top, 5-4. However, the Bluebirds reeled off six straight points, capped by Griffin's two aces, for a commanding 10-5 margin.

Kenwood closed for the second-game victory as Griffin and Steinberg spiked two hard shots near the net for a 13-8 lead. Franklin made it interesting, scoring five straight points to pull to 14-13.

But the Bluebirds finished the game out at 15-13 and doused most of Franklin's momentum when Steinberg punched across a hard-lining return.

"We had troubles adjusting to their type of offense," Franklin coach Pat Larson said. "We recovered and slowed down their offense. But at that time, we weren't even close to running our offense."

After starting the third game down 7-5, Kenwood took a timeout. The Bluebirds then claimed 10 of the game's final 12 points with Wilkinson's towering right-handed spike closing out the third game at 15-9 and the match.

Centennial 3, James M. Bennett 0: Meredith Price had seven kills, three aces and a block to help the Eagles (17-0) to the Class 3A East title with a sweep on the road. Briana Zolak added 12 kills, and Marcy Cangiano contributed four aces for the Eagles who advance to Wednesday's state semifinals against the winner of today's Westlake/McDonough match.

Pub Date: 11/09/96

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