Perry Hall shown exit by powerful Bowie team Sparrows Point takes fall to Glenelg in 1A semis

November 12, 1997|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN Sun staff writer Stan Rappaport contributed to this article.

The Bowie Bulldogs came into last night's Class 4A state semifinal at Essex Community College having won 48 of 49 games since their season-opener.

It took an hour and 7 minutes for the Perry Hall Gators to find out why.

After building a 9-4 lead to start the match, the Gators dropped 11 of the next 14 points and were then solidly beaten, 15-12, 15-7, 15-6.

Bowie (18-0) advances to Saturday's (5 p.m.) Class 4A finals at Catonsville Community College, where it will face Watkins Mills, a three-game winner over Severna Park in the other 4A semifinal.

The Bulldogs are attempting to become the first team from Prince George's County since 1980 to win a state championship. They had been eliminated in the semifinals the past three years.

Last night, however, the Bulldogs weren't to be denied.

Perry Hall (12-6) looked sharp early, using the strong hitting of senior Kristen Corbin and three aces by senior Stephanie Xecominos to win nine of the first 13 points and take a commanding lead in Game 1.

But that's when the Bulldogs began to hit their stride.

"I called a timeout and said, 'We're the better team,' " said Bowie's first-year coach, Jeremy Price. "We weren't playing like it. We were tight and we were tentative."

Led by hitters Lauren Buter and Jen Lyles, Bowie began finding holes in the Gators' defense and forcing costly mistakes.

"We lost our passing," said Perry Hall coach Pam Wilt. "If you can't pass, you can't run an attack. If you can't pass and can't run your attack in the state semifinals, you're going to get beaten."

The emotional loss seemed to take some of the life out of Perry Hall. After holding brief leads in Games 2 and 3, the Gators eventually succumbed in both to end the match.

Corbin led the Gators with 11 kills, Catherine Abgood had eight and Alyssa Phoebus added seven.

Still, this season has been one to remember for Perry Hall. After revamping their lineup early on, the Gators began to click as a unit and defeated Baltimore County champion Dulaney, 3-2, in last week's region finals.

"We certainly went further than I expected to go with this team," said Wilt. "That gives a lot of credit to the kids. They worked very, very hard."

Class 1A semifinals: Third-ranked Glenelg regained its composure after a shaky first game and defeated Sparrows Point, 11-15, 15-3, 15-2, 15-3.

The Gladiators (14-5) will play Mount Savage of Allegany County, which defeated Rising Sun, 15-10, 15-11, 15-11 in the other semifinal, at 2: 30 p.m. Saturday for the championship at Catonsville Community College.

"We could not receive serve," said Sparrows Point coach Linda Day said. "We were scrambling for the ball."

Pub Date: 11/12/97

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