Severna Park's volleyball team started last season with two victories on the road, the second by 3-1 at Towson on the way to a 20-1 campaign and The Sun's No. 1 ranking in the final poll.
It was Towson's only loss in what was the Generals' season and home opener. The Baltimore County champs went on to win 19 in a row, including the Class 2A state final by 3-0 over Glenelg to finish No. 2 in the Top 15.
Today at 5:15 p.m. at Severna Park, it's the season opener for both teams as the preseason No. 1-ranked Generals come calling at the No. 6 Falcons' gym.
"We will be tested right away, " said Towson eighth-year coach Jayne Lacy.
"Everybody on our team played club ball and we should be starting at a high level. I will be disappointed if we don't make it back to the state 2A semifinals."
The Generals lost their setter and Sun Volleyball Player of the Year Michelle Clark. An otherwise strong nucleus led by All-Metro hitter Stephanie Kines, dominating middle hitter and blocker Emily Berman and defensive specialist Stephanie Heard has Lacy optimistic.
"We know it's going to be a tough match and we lost some key people, but I think our new starters are going to do well, " said Severna Park's second-year coach Julie Allen, who led the Falcons to the Class 3A final last year.
Allen is counting on big things from two 5-foot-8 hitters, junior Lynn Cipollone and senior Laura Hertzman, and senior defensive specialist Amanda Ingle.
Heather Klau, a 5-7 junior up from the JV and the younger sister of the graduated Lauren Klau, last year's county Player of the Year and an All-Metro hitter, is battling seniors Emily Callison and Alex Gutschick for the starting setter position.
The Falcons also have two promising underclass hitters in sophomore Kendall Klein (5-8) and freshman Ashlee Allen (5-10), who is the coach's younger sister.
Top soccer at AACC
Five of the metro area's top 10-ranked girls soccer teams - including the top three - will be at Anne Arundel Community College for the two-day Pioneer Shootout starting this afternoon.
The tournament kicks off with No. 1-ranked St. Mary's taking on No. 7 South River at 3:30. Broadneck will try to knock off No. 2 River Hill at 5:30, followed by No. 3 McDonogh against No. 8 Arundel at 7:30.
Tomorrow's action also will get started at 3:30, with River Hill meeting Arundel. One matchup missing this year: No. 1 St. Mary's vs. No. 2 River Hill.
Annapolis football coach Roy Brown has retired as a physical education teacher after 31 years. ... John Brady, who also retired as a teacher last year but holds down a part-time consulting position at Annapolis, will again coach both the Panthers' boys and girls basketball teams. ... Glen Burnie athletic director and baseball coach Bruce Sider has been recognized by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association as a Certified Athletic Administrator. ...
Dave Lanham moved from Archbishop Spalding baseball coach/teacher to St. Mary's athletic director, succeeding Dave Lombardi. ... The 16th Annual Peroutka Brothers Charity Golf Tournament for the Spalding athletic program is set for Sept. 16 at the Woodlands Golf Course in Woodlawn. For information, call 410-768-2280, ext. 233. ... There will be a lot of stories told about the late Harry Lentz, Northeast's baseball coach of 30 years, at the first Northeast High Baseball Alumni Bull Roast on Oct. 5 (8-12 p.m.) at the Stoney Creek Democratic Club. For more information, call Al Kohlhafer at 410-969-8151 or Joe McDonald at 410-360-5798.
Have an idea for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.