No. 2 Glenelg sweeps No. 8 Centennial

Stradling sets up unbeaten Gladiators, who win 11th straight

Volleyball

High Schools

October 19, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Glenelg junior setter Tara Stradling made her teammates' responsibilities easy last night.

Stradling repeatedly set perfect balls to finish with 23 assists on top of four kills and three aces to lead the second-ranked Gladiators to a 15-2, 15-7, 15-10 sweep of eighth-ranked Centennial in a Howard County league match in Ellicott City.

"She's played the game for a long time, and she just knows what she has to do, who can put it down and where to go," said Glenelg senior middle hitter Sarah Tursell. "She's a very smart setter. On a couple of those, I had no idea what she was doing, but she made it work."

Tursell was the recipient of several Stradling sets and finished with a match-high 12 kills and a block. Junior outside hitter Michelle Morgan added seven kills and an ace, and senior outside hitter Cheyenne Davidson recorded five kills, three blocks and two assists to lead Glenelg to its 11th straight victory.

After breezing through the first two games, it appeared Glenelg (11-0, 10-0) would do likewise in the third after taking a 10-1 lead. But the Eagles came back with six straight points to close within 10-7, and at 14-10 they held off four match points. Finally, a Centennial hit long ended the match.

"It's a big relief," Stradling said of beating Centennial for the second time this season. "Now we know we can go undefeated in the county. The program has come so far."

Centennial took a 2-1 lead in each of the first two games. But each time, Glenelg went on a long run to put it away. In the first game, the Gladiators used a 14-0 run, sparked by three kills and two blocks by Davidson, to win, 15-2.

In the second game, it was all Stradling, as Glenelg went on an 8-0 run to move ahead 9-2. The Gladiators led by as many as nine twice in the second game before closing it out at 15-7 on a Centennial error. Stradling had 13 assists and three kills in the second game.

"She played an unbelievable match," Glenelg coach Jennifer Beall said. "She's come so far. She's so much more confident than she was, and with that confidence, she can set any hitter out there. She can play offense, she's making great decisions and she's starting to play better defense."

For Centennial (9-3, 9-2), senior setter Molly Reitz had 18 assists, three kills and an ace, junior outside hitter Erika Swan added a team-high seven kills and a block and junior middle hitter Oye Imoisili registered five kills and two blocks.

"We gave them a lot of easy balls that they converted," Centennial coach Michael Bossom said. "And, yes, they played very well. They hit the ball well, but we showed if we're able to serve better and mount some things, they can be pushed and they can be scored upon. It just becomes a race then."

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