No. 4 Dulaney weathers No. 8 Catonsville Consistency, power spell the difference in four-game victory

September 11, 1997|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Dulaney coach Ian Blanchard told his team that concentration and staying focused would be the keys to beating Catonsville last night.

Dulaney obviously listened to its new coach. The fourth-ranked Lions stayed consistent throughout the match, kept the mistakes to a minimum and outlasted No. 8 Catonsville, 15-12, 15-8, 10-15, 15-8 in a Baltimore County Division I battle.

These two teams were about as evenly matched as possible. Both played nearly flawless defense, took advantage of their chances at the net and made few errors.

Blanchard repeatedly told Dulaney (3-0, 1-0) how important execution and staying focused on each point could be in this match.

"I told our girls just to sustain, sustain, sustain," said Blanchard. "I knew they were going to come at us with a lot of defense and they did."

But the Lions came at Catonsville (1-2, 0-1) with lots of offense, and even though the Comets answered most of the time, the Dulaney power may have made a difference.

The Lions had a bit more power than the Comets, and that paid off at clutch times. Jody Costa, Teresa Graham and Lisa Headd came up with numerous big plays at the net.

Costa was consistent throughout the match -- even late as both teams were wilting in the heat of the 85-degree gymnasium -- making a number of clutch plays. Graham is 5-foot-4, but her 24-inch vertical leap allowed her to hit a number of powerful shots that sliced through the Catonsville defense.

"I think we did a pretty good job of focusing," said Costa. "If we missed one point, we tried to come back and get the next one."

Blanchard also said the serving is important because that helps the offense roll. The Lions served strongly throughout the match -- and it keyed their vital runs.

The match was so even that neither team came up with many good runs. One or two points at a time seemed the rule rather than the exception, but the Lions had a few small runs that came at the right time.

Dulaney scored seven of the last eight points in game one. Trailing, 8-7, in game two, Triny Papavasiliou entered to serve six straight points and give the Lions control.

Marci Brewer sparked the Comets in game three. Despite playing with a painful right hand, Brewer made plays all over the court to help the Comets lead and score their first victory.

But Dulaney rebounded in game four. The Lions took early leads of 2-0, 4-1 and 6-2. They also got a few other small runs, the last one coming when Erin Reinhardt stopped a Catonsville rally by serving the match's final four points.

The Comets got good efforts from hitters Kate Hipsley, Becca Packer and Dani Remeikis. Katie Grotts and Kari Miller gave Catonsville solid back-row defense. Coach Debbie Clem made some defensive adjustments after the first game to fill the holes Dulaney found -- and they worked.

"It was a great match to be involved with," said Clem. 'I was pretty pleased with the all-around play. I thought they had the edge in power on offense, but we didn't quit."

Pub Date: 9/11/97

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