Severna Park smells another state crown Falcons take region title with sweep of Annapolis

November 08, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

It has been a while, but Severna Park is going home.

Anne Arundel County's league champions six of the last seven years, the Falcons are going back to the states for the first time since the open tournament began.

After three frustrating years in which they lost to eventual state champion Northern of Calvert County, No. 2-ranked Severna Park won the Class 4A East region last night with a hard-earned, 3-0 sweep of No. 10 Annapolis.

Northern, the Falcons' nemesis, moved down to Class 3A this season.

The Falcons (18-1) will meet Montgomery County's Watkins Mills at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Essex Community College in a state semifinal.

That will be the Falcons' first trip since 1993, the final season of their three-year run as state champs. Severna Park is seeking its sixth state title overall and fourth under coach Tim Dunbar.

Their 17th consecutive match victory was even closer than the score -- 15-12, 16-14 and 15-9 -- indicated over game, feisty Annapolis (14-2), which lost only to Severna Park this fall.

The Falcons now have six region titles in Dunbar's 11 seasons, but this was the first for Julie Gosewisch, a three-year standout and one of just three seniors (Lani McFeely and Carolyn Page are the others). "It feels really good because we lost so many starters [three All-County players graduated]," said Gosewisch. "It's a big accomplishment."

Gosewisch had 16 kills and the 5-foot-10 outside hitter was 21-for-22 with three aces, despite being double-teamed early on.

"We had alternatives to our usual weapon," said Dunbar. "It was obvious they were keying on Julie and they were effective until Sarah Grimm [17 kills] and Tracy Johnston [12 kills, 17-for-19, two aces] started picking up the slack. Then they couldn't double-team Julie all the time."

With the Panthers' six-footers, Kammi Cottrell and Emily Dammeyer, flailing away with their long arms, Gosewisch and the Falcons were held in check early.

Cottrell, who coach Karla McMahon said "was awesome blocking and that's what kept us in it," finished with 14 blocks and six kills. Dammeyer had five blocks and four kills and Annapolis got seven assists each from Jenni Ferris and Becky Kehoe.

What hurt the Panthers was serving, which produced few aces. Cottrell was 18-for-19, but had only one ace and Kehoe was 17-for-18 with no aces.

In contrast, Severna Park got the five aces from Gosewisch and Johnston, and junior setter Lauren Boyd was 16-for-17 with two more aces. Boyd had a whopping 52 assists.

The first game was tied eight times before Severna Park scored the final three points.

Another back-and-forth set followed with Annapolis forging ahead by 14-12. Severna Park tied that game for the seventh time at 14 and went on to a 16-14 victory.

Gosewisch asserted herself in the third game and started pounding kills into the hardwood. It was obvious the Falcon standout wanted to end it, and soon it was over, 15-9.

"They have so much depth. They're just a great team," said McMahon.

Pub Date: 11/08/97

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