South River drops 3-straight semifinal to No. 2 Centennial Seahawks' execution lags as they end 15-5 season

Class 2A volleyball

November 19, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

For a scrappy South River team, last night's Class 2A state semifinal task at Essex Community College was a little too much to handle.

Centennial, their opponent, was defending state champ and the Baltimore area's No. 2-ranked team. Plus the Eagles were coming off an emotional three-game win over previously unbeaten Mount Hebron to win their South region.

Add the fact that the Eagles have their own special mission this fall, looking to become the first team in state history to win eight state titles.

All of it was simply too much as the No. 7 Seahawks fell in three sets -- 15-10, 15-11, 15-3 -- to the perennial state power from Howard County.

The No. 7-ranked Seahawks closed out a fine season at 15-5, providing top-ranked Severna Park with a solid four-game test in the county championship game before getting past Southern-Harwood, North Caroline and Queen Anne's to capture their second straight Class 2A East region championship.

The 15-3 Eagles from Ellicott City, owners of six Class 3A state titles and last year's Class 2A crown, will get their chance at eight when they meet North Hagerstown in Saturday's final at Catonsville Community College.

The Hubs, from Washington County, won a five-game marathon over Cecil County's North East -- 17-15 in game five -- to advance in last night's other semifinal.

South River coach Maureen Carter was hoping her Seahawks' heart and spirit would help overcome a talented Centennial team. The one thing that was missing, however, was execution.

"It was ugly," said Carter. "We couldn't execute. We couldn't pass. Mentally, they took themselves out of the game. I think we had the skill level to have stayed with them, if we executed."

The Eagles relied on strong setting from Lisa Chapman to go with balanced hitting as they kept themselves separated from the Seahawks just enough in the first game and came from behind in the second to set the stage for the three-game sweep.

The Seahawks, who got some strong net play from seniors Jessica Freeman and Caroline Tippett, built a 9-5 lead in the second game before Centennial rattled off nine straight points to take control at 14-9. The Eagles took the second game a little later on an ace from Beth Stradling.

They then closed out the match with strong serving in the third game, jumping out to a 9-0 lead and finishing the game with six aces -- including three from Chapman and two more from Carolyn Dougherty.

"Centennial had more experience. They've been her a lot more," said Carter. "I think our girls were a little intimidated. When you take yourself out of a match early, it's hard to get it back. Centennial had some hard hitters, but I know my girls can play better than that."

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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