Season starting with bang, Loch Raven handles Perry Hall

September 11, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

For the last few years, the Loch Raven-Perry Hall match has been one of the highlights of the final days of the season. This year, it was the league opener for both teams.

That was OK with Perry Hall coach Pam Wilt -- even after the No. 5 Raiders handed her seventh-ranked Gators a 15-7, 15-8, 7-15, 15-13 setback.

"I'd rather face them now than later on this season," said Wilt. "Loch Raven is always very strong at the end of the season. This year, they appear to be pretty strong at the beginning of the season."

Each team took advantage of the others' mistakes for long stretches, but the visiting Raiders (2-0) made fewer errors to get the Baltimore County Division I win.

Loch Raven had the advantage in the middle where the blocking of Sarah Flora (seven kills) and Jill Bishop (four kills) forced the Gators' top hitter, Alyssa Phoebus, to alter her attack.

"She knows those blockers are there, so mentally she knows she has to change things," said Wilt. "She wants to hit into them or around them, but it just wasn't happening."

Phoebus, who finished with 10 kills, also did her share of blocking. In the final game, she stuffed a Flora hit to give the Gators a 13-12 edge, but Perry Hall could not hold on.

After two Gators' mistakes gave the Raiders a 14-13 lead, Flora pounded a ball that the Gators could not control to give Loch Raven the match.

Earlier, the Raiders appeared ready to cruise after winning the first game and taking a 14-0 lead in the second.

Raiders setter Leah Runyan served 13 straight points, including four aces, and Chrissy Brammer added an ace for a 14-0 lead. However, the Raiders gave the Gators (0-2) eight straight points on their own mistakes.

"We play well when we are confident," said Raiders coach Carol McPherson. "When we're down, we haven't played enough together to keep from falling apart."

But the Raiders did not fall completely apart.

The Gators could not afford to make a single mistake, but they did. Stephanie Xecominos could not handle a bad pass and was whistled for an illegal set giving the Raiders the game.

Still, Perry Hall carried some of the momentum from that game over to the third. Powered by a couple of Phoebus kills and two terrific digs by Sharnell Sephes, the Gators won the third game.

Pub Date: 9/11/97

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