Centennial inches past rival River Hill in tense 5 games Eagles 'rally' in fifth for 10 straight points

September 19, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Second-ranked Centennial defeated third-ranked River Hill last night in a 2-hour, 9-minute match that was decided by rally scoring, a fifth-game only system that awards a point on every serve.

The Eagles won 10 points on their serve in the decisive fifth game, including the final three, to defeat the host Hawks, 16-14, 10-15, 15-7, 13-15, 15-6.

"I like it," Centennial coach Mike Bossom said of rally scoring, a new state rule. "It really shows how much a side-out is worth in a game."

River Hill coach Sybil Modispacher had a different opinion.

"I hate it. I despise it," Modispacher said. "I don't like the philosophy of it. Give the kids a chance to play the game. Don't take them off the court early because the match has run long."

Both teams battled hot conditions inside the River Hill gymnasium. And it didn't help that the first game lasted 28 minutes.

"That first game, it was so hot," said Centennial setter Lisa Chapman, who had 27 assists and also did some hitting. "Sometimes you were focusing on the heat, but then you had to focus on the game."

The Eagles, who lost their season-opener to Northern (Calvert County), broke a 14-all tie to win the first game. Centennial took a 5-0 lead in the second game, but River Hill (1-1) earned 10 of the last 13 points to even the match.

Centennial, winner of six state titles in the last seven years, took a 7-0 lead in the third game and never looked back.

The Eagles, who committed 17 serving errors in the match, jumped to a 6-3 lead in the fourth game, but River Hill rallied for a 10-8 advantage. Centennial tied the game at 13-all before tip shots by Shannon Patrick and Sarah Albert forced the fifth game.

With Julie Taury serving, the Eagles won the first three points of the fifth game and never were threatened. They led 7-2, 9-5 and won six of the last seven points.

Chapman said the Eagles (1-1) showed improvement from their three-game loss against Northern eight days ago.

"Everything was better in some way," Chapman said. "It lets us know we have the capability to be as good as last year's team. We're working better as a team. Things are falling into place."

Modispacher said her team "mentally fell apart" at times. She was not pleased with the serving (14 errors) and passing.

"We spend a good deal of time practicing so what happened tonight doesn't happen," said Modispacher.

Still, Modispacher, whose team is working with a new setter, sophomore Sarah Albert, was glad to see the Hawks play so well in the fourth game when they needed to tie.

Chapman agreed. "River Hill played a great match," she said. "They never gave up. They deserve a lot of credit."

The Eagles got 15 kills from Kim Emrich and 10 from Beth Stradling. Shannon Patrick had 12 kills for the Hawks.

Pub Date: 9/19/98

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