Centennial sweeps South River, earns shot at eighth title Saturday's state final a repeat of '97 match

Class 2A volleyball

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

Centennial is one victory from becoming the most successful volleyball program in state history.

Four teams, including the Eagles, have won seven titles in the state tournament's 24-year history. Second-ranked Centennial earned the right to go for the record-breaking eighth on Saturday by defeating seventh-ranked South River 15-10, 15-11, 15-3 in the Class 2A state semifinals at Essex Community College last night.

Centennial will play North Hagerstown -- an 11-15, 15-8, 15-8, 13-15, 17-15 winner over Cecil County's North East in last night's other semifinal -- at noon Saturday at Catonsville Community College.

That match will be a repeat of last year's Class 2A state championship affair, which the Eagles won in three games.

Centennial won Class 3A titles in 1989, 1991-94 and 1996, as well as the Class 2A championship last year. Eagles coach Mike Bossom can tie his predecessor, Bill Shook, with four state titles if the Eagles win Saturday.

Centennial (16-3) started slowly last night but improved as the match went on. The Eagles trailed 3-1 in the first game but won five straight points and nine of the next 13 for a 10-7 advantage. Leading 14-9, the Eagles needed five service attempts to end the game.

"We weren't as intense as we were against Mount Hebron [in the South region final]," said senior setter Lisa Chapman, who played a strong match. "I know Mount Hebron is our [Howard County] rival, but this is the state tournament, and you would expect us to be more intense."

Chapman, who set well and had some timely and effective dump shots, said the Eagles "played all right but not our best. We definitely have to step it up on Saturday."

Bossom agreed: "We played well enough to win. We're pleased with the outcome but not necessarily with how we performed."

South River (15-5) took its largest lead of the match, 9-5, in the second game. But Centennial ran off nine straight points -- seven off Julia Sajauskas' serves -- for a 14-9 lead and never looked back.

After taking the first nine points of the third game, the Eagles won easily. Chapman, who served wide to open the match and struggled serving in the first two games, won nine points on her serve, including the last six. She had three aces in the third game.

"I had trouble with my serve, because my back is bothering me," Chapman said. "On my first serve, I felt something pull in my back."

Nevertheless, Chapman played well and got good support from her hitters. Julie Taury had seven kills, Beth Stradling six and Lindsay Feller, Kim Emrich and Chapman had five each.

South River coach Maureen Carter said Centennial's experience and strong hitters were too much for the Seahawks to overcome.

"It was ugly. We couldn't execute. We couldn't pass," said Carter. "Mentally, we took ourselves out of the match.

"Centennial had some hard hitters, and we got hit a few times and were intimidated. I know my girls can play better then they did tonight."

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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