Severna Park gives Owls three-game playoff lesson No. 2 Falcons end 9-match win streak by W'minster

November 01, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Severna Park, 14-1 and ranked No. 2 in the Baltimore area, was taking no chances when it played at No. 15 Westminster, 11-3 and working on a nine-match win streak, in the Class 4A East first-round regionals last night.

The Anne Arundel school had won three straight state championships before the state tournament's open format began, but in the last three years, the Falcons lost regional matches to Northern-Calvert each time -- in the final, the second round, and the first round.

This year, with Northern now a Class 3A school, Severna Park is gearing itself to make a run at a state championship. It made its first step a decisive one by beating Westminster, 15-7, 16-14, 15-0.

The Falcons will likely be home for a second-round match Monday with county rival Old Mill, a team it defeated earlier, 3-0.

Afterward, coach Tim Dunbar, in his 11th season, was quick to point out his team's chief feature.

"We have an awful lot of players committed to playing above their level," he said. "We try stuff others don't do. We try to make it fun for the girls. Above all, we stress excellence."

One who excels is outside-hitter Julie Gosewisch, a 5-foot-10 senior who is developing a cannon-like shot. For the night, she had 12 kills and was 15-for-16 serving, with three aces.

Gosewisch and junior middle-hitter Gretchen Hause are the only team members also playing club ball, and as the former said, "That's a different level, but you play hundreds of games. You just get where you feel more comfortable on the court. And on my hits, I'm still working to put more snap and drive into the ball.

"In the past, I think we [the team] had been tense and nervous, but tonight we were relaxed. This season, too, I have become more comfortable working with Lauren," the three-year starter said of junior setter Lauren Boyd. "We're not afraid to play with each other, to do things. It's a more go-for-it attitude than before."

Boyd had 24 assists and was 16-for-18 serving, with six aces.

Westminster was as close as 12-7 in the first game, but eventually Carolyn Page and Gosewisch ended it with winners. The Owls settled down to be more consistent in the second game, closing from 8-2 to 10-8 and then ties at 13 and 14 before a Westminster player was called for a lift and Gosewisch got the game-winner.

By the time the count reached 5-0 in the third game, the visitors were pumped up and jumping around, sensing victory.

"We had not seen a team with that intensity before. Maybe there were not better skills, but they walked on the court like they owned it," said Katie Righter, a senior middle-hitter and the heart of Westminster's team.

Pub Date: 11/01/97

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