Atholton cleans up after five messy games Raiders dump Howard, which entered game flat, keep title hopes alive

October 23, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Atholton won ugly yesterday. But none of the Raiders, who had lost five of their last six matches, was complaining.

"No matter how you get a win, it's still a win," said Atholton first-year coach Bruce Lindblad after his team's 12-15, 15-6, 12-15, 15-2, 15-10 victory at Howard. "We were definitely sloppy. Both teams made a lot of mistakes."

The victory put Atholton in good position to win its division and play Mount Hebron for the county championship Nov. 4.

The Raiders finished their eight-game divisional schedule at 5-3. Howard is 4-4, Oakland Mills is 3-3 and Hammond and Long Reach are both 3-4. Oakland Mills travels to Long Reach Tuesday and plays host to Hammond on Thursday. The Scorpions defeated Long Reach and lost to Hammond earlier in the season.

If Oakland Mills wins its final two division games and tie the Raiders at 5-3, the following tie-breaking criteria will be used: county overall record in matches; head-to-head with the tying teams in matches; head-to-head in individual games, won/loss; individual games won/lost in the division; individual games won/loss in county; coin flip.

Though the Raiders (6-6 overall, 5-5 league) were inconsistent -- dTC "Everybody had flashes of glory" Lindblad said -- they did play as a team. And that, said 5-11 senior outside hitter Jen Thomas, was the key to victory.

"We've been having a hard time lately, but I think we pulled it together and played as a team," said Thomas, who ended the 1 hour, 45 minute match will a hard kill shot. "It wasn't so much our hitting or passing but the way we helped each other out. We encouraged each other and played as a team."

Howard (5-6, 5-6) came into the match having won five of its last six. In fact, the Lions had begun their turnaround when they beat Atholton in five games for their first victory.

Yesterday, though, the Lions weren't sharp.

"They made a lot more hitting errors the first time we played them," said Thomas.

"No one was talking. We weren't playing as a team," said Howard senior Julie Newhouse. "It was like a random bunch of people standing on the court. No one was focused. No one was doing anything to make it better."

Ophelia Tindal, like Newhouse a senior and four-year varsity player, said the Lions came into the match overconfident.

"I think we thought we had this match guaranteed, and we didn't concentrate hard enough to win it," Tindall said. "We totally did not play up to our potential."

Howard trailed 11-6 in the first game but won nine of the last 10 points, including the last six behind Rachel Lenzo's serving.

Atholton led from start to finish in the second game and took 5-0 and 10-6 leads in the third. But the Lions rallied again to win nine of the last 11 points.

With Jen Poston, Julie Frostbutter, Amanda Ramsey and Thomas leading the way, Atholton easily won the fourth game, at one point winning nine straight points. Howard led 7-4 in the final game, but the Raiders ran off seven points behind serving by Lauren Mickley and Poston and never looked back.

Pub Date: 10/23/98

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