No. 1 Centennial powers to seventh straight title Eagles sweep Hammond

only 2nd game a battle


October 30, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The second game was only seconds old.

"Scoreboard. Scoreboard," yelled a group of Hammond fans at last night's county championship between top-ranked Centennial and No. 8 Hammond at River Hill.

The scoreboard read: Hammond 1, Centennial 0.

When you play the best team in the area, you take what you can get.

The Golden Bears played well in that second game, battling the Eagles down to the wire. But Centennial was too strong and ended up winning its seventh straight -- and 11th overall -- county title, 15-5, 15-12, 15-2.

"They're an excellent team," said Hammond coach Ken McLaughlin, whose Golden Bears dropped a 15-5, 15-5, 15-9 decision to Centennial two weeks ago. "They have too much firepower."

Seniors Briana Zolak, Michelle Flather and Robyn West all had eight kills for the Eagles. Beth Stradling came off the bench and also played well.

Centennial (15-0) began with match in authoritative fashion, winning the first nine points.

"I think we were a little bit intimidated," said Hammond junior setter Monica McLaughlin.

The Eagles took an 11-1 lead, but suddenly appeared to lose their focus. Two straight mistakes got the attention of Centennial coach Mike Bossom, and he called a time out. By the time the Eagles closed out the game, Hammond looked more comfortable.

The Golden Bears (11-5) played an outstanding second game.

"We got our act together and played more as a team," said Hammond senior Adriane Panzera.

"They came out like gangbusters, and we didn't expect it," said Zolak.

Hammond took leads of 4-0 and 9-7, fell behind 13-9, then rallied to 13-12.

"You have to hand it to Hammond, they outhustled us in the second game," said Bossom. "They hit the floor more than we did."

Hammond's Krya Sliwinski, McLaughlin, Panzera and Lauren Inouye all had strong games.

Centennial played better defensively in the third game, got on a roll and never looked back.

"We didn't let anything hit the floor, and that's what we have to continue to do," Bossom said. "Overall, I'm happy with the way we played."

Said Ken McLaughlin: "We played a great second game, but it took the air out of us in the third game. I'm very happy with the effort they gave in this match."

Centennial begins its hunt for a seventh state title with a Class 2A South region quarterfinal match Monday. Hammond plays a Class 1A South region quarterfinal match Monday at defending state champion Williamsport.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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