Hammond set to take shot at No. 1 Centennial No. 8 Bears wriggle past Wilde Lake to win division


October 28, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

No. 8 Hammond ousted visiting Wilde Lake in three games yesterday, but the Golden Bears know they will have to give a better effort against top-ranked Centennial in tomorrow's county championship.

Hammond defeated the Wildecats, 15-4, 15-13, 15-9, to clinch its division. Centennial (14-0 overall, 13-0 league) completed its second straight undefeated league season with a 15-1, 15-0, 15-6 win at Long Reach.

The two teams meet at 7 p.m. tomorrow at River Hill for the county title. This is the first year -- and volleyball the only sport -- where county teams have split into two divisions. There will be an admission charge of $4 for everyone 8 years old and up.

Hammond (11-4, 9-4) had the support of a loud and boisterous group of boys in a corner of the stands during last night's match, but its play was rather subdued.

"We were just flat. Very flat," said Hammond coach Ken McLaughlin.

"We weren't as intense as we have been before," said Hammond's Adriane Panzera, a 5-foot-9 senior middle hitter who had a team-leading 10 kills. "I think we expected to win so we didn't put forth our best effort."

Wilde Lake (3-13, 2-11) led for much of the second game. In fact, Hammond trailed, 13-10, before winning five straight points behind the serving of Kyra Sliwinski and net play of Panzera.

"We played around too much," Panzera said. "There was no concentration. We let them have a lot more then they should have had."

Wilde Lake, led by Lindsay Smardon, rallied from five points down in the third game to close within 10-8, but got no closer.

Hammond lost to Centennial, 15-5, 15-5, 15-9, 11 days ago, but McLaughlin was pleased with his team's effort.

"We played them well," McLaughlin said. "We lost but we gave 100 percent. It took them a long time to beat us."

"We just hope to play them like we did before," Panzera said. "We just need to focus on playing hard and playing together."

"We're definitely the underdogs," said McLaughlin. "It's like Florida State against Maryland in football. We did everything right the first time we played them. They just have too many options and too much power.

"But we will play well on Wednesday. I know we will."

Centennial coach Mike Bossom said his club will be ready, too.

"This being the first year when the county title is decided with one match, they're excited to be there," Bossom said. "They want to win."

Briana Zolak had seven kills and Robyn West six to lead the Eagles against Long Reach.

"We're running our offense more efficiently and our defense is playing very well," said Bossom, whose team will be going for its seventh straight and 11th overall county championship. "Things are starting to come together."

Pub Date: 10/28/97

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