Mount Hebron knocks off Centennial

For Vikings seniors, win is their first over Eagles


October 22, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

After losing to Centennial in three games in mid-September, the Mount Hebron volleyball team said there was something about playing the Eagles that resulted in a drop in confidence and quality of play whenever the two teams matched up.

Yesterday, the sixth-ranked Vikings left a match at No. 8 Centennial singing a different tune and with plenty of reasons to celebrate.

The 15-11, 8-15, 15-12, 15-10 win over Centennial was not only the Vikings' senior class' first varsity victory over the Eagles, but it also put Mount Hebron in the driver's seat for a berth in next week's county championship game against undefeated Glenelg.

"This is so big," said junior setter Stacey Carroll. "I cannot believe I can say, `We beat Centennial.' This is just awesome."

The Vikings (11-2 overall, 10-2 league) can assure a rematch against the Gladiators by closing out the regular season with wins over Atholton and Howard. Not bad for a team that was 3-12 last season.

"If we get there [county championship], it's a huge hill ahead of us, but the girls are flying high right now, and they are confident," said Vikings first-year coach Michael Moynihan. "Three and 12 to this, it's pretty, pretty amazing. I'm so proud of my team."

Meanwhile, the Eagles, undone by service errors and unable to side-out consistently, fell to 9-3, 9-2.

"They outplayed us today," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom, whose team was led junior Erika Swan's 11 kills and four blocks and Molly Reitz's seven kills and 29 assists. "The scores show that."

That the Vikings got a chance to celebrate was because of several factors. Carroll played a starring role, with seven kills, 23 digs, a 22-for-22 performance from the service line and 31 assists.

On nearly every big point, Carroll found sophomore Connie Pikounis, who had 18 kills and three blocks, but later deflected credit to another aspect of her team's play.

"What kept us in the game was our defense, and our serving was a big part of it," Pikounis said.

Senior Kristen Schields added 11 kills and nine digs, and senior Audrey Damrongsri had seven kills, 33 digs and two aces.

In a well-played, highly competitive match with plenty of long rallies and momentum shifts, Moynihan was most impressed with his team's composure and ability to halt Centennial runs.

The Vikings clinched the victory on senior Julia Boone's kill on match point.

"They broke that [hex]," Moynihan said. "Now, they have a win. They can say we beat Centennial last time, so it's a big step for the program."

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