Top-ranked Severna Park falls to Whitman Falcons' quest for state title ends with 3-0 loss

Vikings are led by six-foot twins

Class 4A volleyball

November 22, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Orlando Larracuente, "a basketball coach coaching volleyball," delivered Walt Whitman's first state championship in his first year as head coach.

Larracuente, who coaches boys basketball at Kennedy High in Montgomery County, also led it to a state final in his first season there in 1996.

Last night at Catonsville Community College, his Vikings, led by 6-foot twins Elizabeth and Mariel Davenport-Pollock, crowned a 20-0 season with a 3-0 victory over top-ranked Severna Park (18-2) for the Class 4A state championship.

"You can't do any better than that. We achieved perfection in our first year together, " said Larracuente.

The Vikings swept the Falcons by scores of 15-6, 16-14 and 15-3 to win their first state title in their third state semifinal appearance. They were 70-for-76 serving, as opposed to Severna Park's 43-for-53. The Falcons attacked negatively with 12 kills and 19 errors in 71 attempts.

Whitman made it to the state semis in 1987 and again in '93, when it lost in the 3A final to Centennial.

The Falcons were seeking their sixth state championship overall and fourth under Tim Dunbar, who led Severna Park to three straight state titles from 1991-93.

The Falcons, however, ran into a powerhouse last night. Both Falcon losses this season came to state champions in Whitman and Class 3A's Calvert.

Whitman has four six-footers, two of them bluechippers in the Davenport-Pollock twins.

"They're the best two Division I prospects in the state, bar none, " said Larracuente.

The twins are being recruited by Northwestern, Yale and North Carolina, and Larracuente said "there will be many, many more when we hit the road with my club team."

Elizabeth was 12-for-12 with six service points, four blocks and 14 kills and Mariel was 14-for-15 with 11 points, three blocks and 23 assists.

Complementing them were Erin Sisk (6-0), who was 10-for-12 with one ace, seven points, two blocks and five kills, and first-time playing senior Stephanie Henck.

Henck was 17-for-17 serving with two aces and 13 points.

Whitman dominated at the net and won the first game, 15-6, with Severna Park's standout setter Lauren Boyd twisting her ankle. Boyd, who was 11-for-13 serving with two aces, seven points and 12 assists, gutted it out the rest of the way.

Traci Sariscak also played well in a losing cause serving 10-for-11 with two aces, six points and five kills.

The second game was pivotal. The game featured seven ties, the last at 14, before Whitman won it, 16-14.

Severna Park had an 11-6 lead after a 5-0 run, but Whitman answered with a 6-0 spurt to take the lead at 12-11.

"Both teams were feeling the jitters right there," said Larracuente, who said his team played their "best defense of the season."

Whitman bolted to a 12-0 lead on the way to the 15-3 decision in the final game.

"Their height didn't hurt as much as their defense in the back row that picked it up so much, more than I had ever seen them do during the year," said Dunbar. "We tried to exploit their weaknesses, but they weren't weak tonight."

"And we panicked a little bit. We couldn't go toe-to-toe and try to slug it out with them at the net. We were trying to out-quick them and we were in Game 2 before they started playing defense."

It was the second year in a row that Severna Park lost to the 4A state champ. Last year the Falcons were eliminated by eventual state champion Watkins Mill in the semis.

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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