No. 1 Centennial sweeps Key for 2A state title

No. 5 Eagles can't rebound from sluggish beginning

Volleyball state finals

High Schools

November 21, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Francis Scott Key had lost only two matches all season, but composure -- or a lack thereof -- defeated it yesterday.

A jittery Eagles squad dug itself a hole it could not climb out of as it fell to No. 1 Centennial in straight games, 15-8, 15-6, 15-11, in the Class 2A state championship volleyball final at CCBC-Catonsville yesterday.

The victory propelled Centennial (18-2) to its ninth state crown in 11 years. The loss ended a nine-match winning streak and dashed hopes of a sixth state title for No. 5 Francis Scott Key (17-3).

Francis Scott Key coach Alice Smith said the experience was the difference. The Eagles hadn't been to the state finals since 1996, while Centennial was making its fourth consecutive appearance in the state championship match.

"They came out like they have been here before," Smith said. "We were very uptight. I couldn't get them to calm down and get relaxed."

Francis Scott Key junior middle hitter Adria Stonesifer agreed, saying, "We weren't on the same page as a team. The pressure got to us."

Senior outside hitter Kim Sheedy said the team came out flat in the first game, as Centennial sprinted to a 9-0 lead and won, 15-8.

"We let them get way too far ahead," Sheedy said. "We couldn't come back after that."

Francis Scott Key gained its first -- and only -- lead of the match in the second game as it took a 5-4 edge. But Centennial captured 10 of the next 11 points and the second game, 15-6.

The beginning of the third game mirrored the first, as Centennial opened an 8-2 lead. But Francis Scott Key junior middle hitter Sam Stambaugh's two kills and two blocks helped the team narrow the gap to 12-11.

But an ace by senior outside hitter Kim Emrich, a kill attempt by Stambaugh that sailed long, and an unforced error sealed the 15-11 game and the state championship for Centennial.

Centennial coach Michael Bossom said he told his squad to focus on stopping Sheedy, who finished with four kills and one block, and Stambaugh, who recorded four kills and seven blocks.

"They are their two best players," Bossom said. "They got a couple of good kills, but they weren't able to string them together."

Smith wondered aloud if the results would have been different if Francis Scott Key had gained the early cushion.

"We needed to get them down," she said. "I think that it would've been better in the first game if we had come out with something other than being down 9-0."

Stambaugh said she believes the teams were evenly matched.

"We're an equal team with them," she said. "If everyone would've played like we know how, we could've beaten them."

Class 4A

Dulaney 3, Montgomery Blair 2: When Dulaney's Leanne Costa smashed the match-winning kill in last night's state final, the No. 3 Lions remarkably still had energy left to celebrate.

In an exhausting two-and-a-half hour match, the Lions pulled out a 15-11, 12-15, 13-15, 15-11, 15-12 victory over Montgomery Blair for the Class 4A state title at CCBC-Catonsville.

For a team that had lost only one game all season, the Lions (20-0) proved their mettle in the grueling marathon by coming from 11-9 down to win the fourth game and 12-10 down to win the fifth.

"That was the most incredible feeling," said Lions setter Erin Reinhardt, who had 52 assists in the match. "When we won this one, it was so much better than winning the other ones, because we had to work so hard. It was just a rush."

The Lions had many heroes last night in their first appearance in the state final. Lindsay Lawson had 23 kills and Costa, 18 as the Lions attacked hard throughout the match. Julie Salamon, Jill Schubert and Veronica Briggs played stellar defense in the back row and Nicole Tuttle emerged as a force in the middle with nine kills and five blocks.

In a final game filled with long rallies and excellent defense on both sides, the Lions rallied from 10-12 down to win the last five points. Costa tied the game at 12 with a kill down the line and, after two Blair hitting errors, finished off the victory with another kill.

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