No. 2 Glenelg too much for No. 5 Centennial

Gladiators' experience sinks Eagles in opener


September 05, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

When the Glenelg and Centennial volleyball teams meet again later in the season, it's a strong possibility that the gap between the two Howard County powers will shrink.

But yesterday, in the first of a possible four meetings, it was clearly a mismatch. Behind a deep and balanced offensive attack and a consistent side out game, the second-ranked Gladiators swept No. 5 Centennial, 15-3, 15-6, 15-13 in the season openers for both teams at Glenelg.

The Gladiators were led by their duo of senior middle hitter Sarah Tursell and junior setter Tara Stradling. Tursell, a second-team All-Metro performer last year, finished with five kills and three blocks, and Stradling had 23 assists and two blocks.

"I think that overall, we played really well in the first two games," said Gladiators coach Jennifer Beall. "We did everything we needed to do and it took them out of their game."

Centennial, which already was smaller and less experienced than Glenelg, was hit with another setback when its setter, Molly Reitz, separated her shoulder at practice on Tuesday. It is the same injury that cost her most of last season.

Eagles coach Mike Bossom was satisfied with the way Leanna Kelly filled in for Reitz, but not with the rest of his team's play. He attributed much of the trouble to their youth.

"We can't serve," he said. "We didn't execute what we wanted to do. We didn't take care of our side, and that's what I'm disappointed with. ... A lot of those players you saw, that's their first time playing varsity or playing in the role that they were in."

Still, the Eagles nearly extended the Gladiators to a fourth game. Two kills from senior Kate Feldmann, one from Oye Imoisili and a service winner from Olivia Kelly gave the Eagles a 13-12 advantage in the third game.

But Glenelg would regain a 14-13 lead on two straight Centennial errors, and then senior Adrienne McGill (three kills, three blocks) and Michelle Morgan both appeared to get their hands on a block on match point.

"I always knew we could do it," said Tursell. "I just didn't expect it in our first match. It's like an awakening for us. We proved to ourselves what we were capable of."

The two teams will meet again on Oct. 18. They may also meet in the county championship game and in the regional playoffs.

"I hope we don't play them as that same team, because I know Coach Bossom and I know the girls on their team, and they are not going to be satisfied," said Tursell. "They are going to get better, but hopefully we will too."

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