Northern-Calvert sweeps Dulaney

Defending, 2-time champ too strong for Lions

Class 3A volleyball

November 15, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

All season, the fourth-ranked Dulaney volleyball team has overachieved despite struggling through a rash of injuries. Last night, the Lions' luck ran out.

With four players recently promoted from the Baltimore County-champion JV team in the lineup and without star junior middle hitter Jennifer Wylie, out most of the season with foot problems, Dulaney was swept out of the Class 3A state semifinals at CCBC-Essex by Northern-Calvert County, 15-7, 15-8, 15-11.

Northern (17-1), the two-time defending 3A champion, will play for its eighth state title against No. 1 Severna Park (20-0) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at CCBC-Catonsville. The Patriots, who have won seven straight matches, have won a state title in six of the last seven years.

"It's tough to make adjustments when you are not used to the speed of what's going on out there," said Dulaney coach Ian Blanchard, whose team was making its fourth straight trip to the state semifinals. The Lions (15-3) were the two-time defending Class 4A champion but with lowered enrollment became a 3A school this year.

"We were outmatched. I'm proud of the way my kids hustled, and I'm proud of the way they played," Blanchard said. "We played a hard-fought match. We were decimated by injuries all season long. We had a couple kids who rose to the occasion, but it's hard to ask the kids without that kind of experience to do that in a situation like this."

Both teams made several errors in the first game, but eventually Northern added kills. The Patriots finished with 30 kills and 37 errors for the match; Dulaney managed just eight kills and committed 25 errors.

Sophomore outside hitter Heather Schreiber and senior middle hitter Cindy Haynes led Northern with eight kills apiece. Senior outside hitter Cory Karcesky and senior middle hitter Casey Karcesky each had six kills, and junior setter Junel Jeffries was instrumental, finishing with 28 assists.

For Dulaney, senior hitter Veronica Briggs led with three kills, sophomore Lindsay Jones had two kills, and senior Kristin Schmidt added two kills. Junior setter Bruna Fonseca assisted all eight of Dulaney's kills.

Dulaney, already down two games, fell behind 11-2 in the third but rallied for nine points to make things close. After two blocks by junior Sally Foster, a kill by Jones and a Northern error, the Lions closed to within 13-11.

But the Patriots closed out the match on an ace by Carly McDonald and a kill by Casey Karcesky.

"They were a better team tonight," Briggs said. "Errors just got us. They just made fewer errors. Since we had injuries and new people coming in, we weren't used to all playing together."

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