Top-ranked Centennial gives Hawks fast lesson Making fewer mistakes, Eagles find winning easier

October 16, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Centennial senior Briana Zolak said the No. 1-ranked Eagles still makes its share of mistakes.

"But compared to the beginning of the season, we're making a lot less. We don't fall apart as easily," Zolak said. That's not good news for Eagles' opponents as host River Hill learned last night. Centennial started fast against the third-ranked Hawks and never trailed en route to a 15-0, 15-13, 15-7 victory.

"They've got a solid team," said River Hill coach Sybil Modispacher.

And a team that's happy to be playing better.

"They weren't enjoying it as much earlier when they were making the mistakes," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "They're playing well and having fun again."

"Things are starting to come together," said Zolak, one of the county's top hitters who had 13 kills against River Hill. "It's definitely more fun now because we're more comfortable with each other. We're confident with the player next to us, no matter who it is."

River Hill, which lost to Centennial in four games (15-13, 15-11, 13-15, 15-13) in the second match of the season, played yesterday's match without its top hitter, sophomore Shannon Patrick.

Patrick, who was injured in the Bulldog Classic Oct. 4 but played in two matches after that, has a small muscle tear in her right thigh. She will visit her doctor Monday and hopes to return next week.

"Any time a starter goes out it makes a difference," said Modispacher.

River Hill had two players out of position in the first game. "We practiced that lineup all week in practice but it didn't work well," Modispacher said.

The Hawks changed things in the second game but Centennial jumped out to a 9-1 lead. River Hill rallied behind the serving of Amber Rieg, the team's setter who had an outstanding match.

"She has a very nice serve and it was hard to pass," said Centennial's Robyn West, who finished with six kills.

River Hill closed to within 14-13 as it won three straight points behind the serve of Lisa Humphrey. After a time out, Centennial stopped the run and won the next point and the game.

The Eagles took a 6-0 lead in the third game and never looked back. But to its credit, River Hill never stopped.

"They play every point 100 percent," said Bossom. "They're not afraid to hit the floor. That's a credit to the players and their coach."

Bossom said his team "set up a game plan and followed it." On defense the Eagles were in the right position to "take their shots away," Bossom said. Offensively, they "tried to hit more angles instead of just hitting it hard in the middle."

Centennial played the match without starting setter Susan Yi, who fractured a bone in the bottom of her left foot at home Saturday night. She plans to be ready for the state tournament should the Eagles advance.

Pub Date: 10/16/97

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