Fifth-ranked Dulaney pulls off 3-1 upset of No. 1 Centennial

Briggs earns 18 kills, helps drop No. 1 Eagles


September 21, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Before last night's match, Dulaney volleyball coach Ian Blanchard said he thought it might be a year too late for his team to pull off an upset of No. 1 Centennial, but the visiting Lions proved the timing was just right.

In a clash of state champions, the No. 5 Lions got 18 kills from Veronica Briggs and took advantage of a host of Centennial attack errors to take a 9-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-6 victory.

"It's indescribable," said Lions setter Bruna Fonseca, who finished with 25 assists. "They were supposedly the better team in the papers. They had the best players. We knew we had a chance to beat them. We knew coming in that we were the underdogs, and we tried to use that as motivation."

Before the match, Blanchard, whose team has won the past two Class 4A state titles, knew his rebuilding team lacked depth and height against the host Eagles, winners of five straight state crowns, including the past four in Class 2A.

The Lions (4-0) had only eight girls available, and one of their best hitters, Jen Wylie, sat on the bench with a broken foot. Centennial (2-1) had a roster of more than a dozen girls. Dulaney's tallest player was 5-foot-10 Kristin Schmidt (four kills), while the Eagles had 6-0 All-Metro Lindsay Feller (13 kills) and 6-2 Kelsey Tyree (six kills).

The match, however, did not turn on depth or power; it turned on who made the fewest errors.

"We capitalized on errors and when we needed big plays, we got big plays especially out of Briggs," said Blanchard of his 5-6 senior outside hitter. "She was huge."

Briggs had five kills in the first game, and Fonseca set the tone for the match with an opening seven-point service run peppered with three aces. In every game, the Lions ran up at least a 5-0 lead leaving the Eagles to try to claw their way back.

"Our passing was the key," said Briggs. "Just being in those long rallies gave us those points that we needed."

In the third game, as the Eagles tried to rally from a 9-2 deficit, setter Molly Reitz suffered a separated right shoulder diving for a ball. As she headed for the hospital, Dulaney led 9-5.

The Lions then quickly pulled ahead 13-5. The Eagles rallied to within 13-10, before the Lions closed out the game for a 2-1 advantage. Five of the last six Lions points of the game came on Centennial mistakes.

"The majority of their points [in the match] came from our errors," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "At one time in Game 2, every side out that they got was an attack error."

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