At last, Arundel solves Sev. Park

Wildcats defeat Falcons 1st time in at least 15 years

Volleyball

High Schools

October 15, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The No. 4 volleyball team visited No. 5 last night, and No. 4 won in five games - just the way it's supposed to go.

It's not quite that simple, however, when No. 4 is Arundel and No. 5 is Severna Park.

It's the first time Arundel has beaten Severna Park in volleyball in at least 15 years. The Wildcats outlasted the host Falcons by 13-15, 15-11, 12-15, 15-8, 15-12 last night.

Arundel had not beaten the Falcons since Greg Legrand took over as Wildcats coach five years ago and never in the 13 years (1987-99) Tim Dunbar coached the Falcons.

And Severna Park did not lose to Arundel under Justin McCabe in 2000 nor current coach Julie Allen last year. It was Allen's first loss to a county team in two years.

"We didn't look like we showed up to play," said Allen. "We lacked intensity."

The power hitting of sophomore Tiffany Johnson and the overall play of Alex McGuire, Dee Dee Matthews and Amanda Hernandez gave the Wildcats (9-0) sole possession of first place in the Anne Arundel County League at 6-0.

Severna Park (7-4) slipped to 6-1 in a second-place tie with No. 7 Broadneck (8-2), which visits Arundel Thursday. Broad- neck's only county loss was to Severna Park.

"This group can stay focused for five sets while other great athletic teams we've had couldn't stay focused for five sets," said Legrand.

"These guys are something special."

Jumping out 11-5 in the first game last night, the Wildcats faltered and the Falcons roared back to take a 15-13 decision.

After five ties, the last at 10, Arundel rode the hitting of Johnson and the defensive play of McGuire to win Game 2.

There were seven ties, again the last at 10, before the Falcons pulled away to take Game 3 by 15-12 with the serving and passing of Rachael Caruso leading the way. Caruso, a junior setter, finished 26-for-27 serving and a match-high 51 assists.

It looked like Arundel was finished when it came out for the fourth set and fell behind 5-0. Suddenly, the Wildcats came to life and scored 10 unanswered points with McGuire, who was 27-for-28 serving with 10 kills and a match-high 37 digs that tied teammate Ana Baker, serving four of her seven aces during the run.

Johnson, who dominated at the net with match highs of 22 kills and 17 blocks, took over with power that the Falcons couldn't answer. She then capped the comeback with a soft jump shot over the net for a 15-8 victory and a 2-2 match tie.

"Tiffany just started crushing the ball and I've never seen a sophomore just flat-out dominate a game like that," said Legrand.

Johnson, Matthews (30-for-31 serving, seven aces, six kills, 28 digs) and Hernandez (28-for-29 serving, four aces, five kills, 28 assists, eight blocks) took over in the 15-12 final.

Lynn Cipollone (27-for-29, four aces, 15 kills, 34 digs) led Severna Park.

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