Severna Park rallies to win county crown

Comeback in fourth set sparks Falcons to victory over 3rd-ranked Arundel

Volleyball

October 30, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Tradition won over athleticism last night, as Severna Park outlasted previously unbeaten Arundel, 3-2, for the Anne Arundel County volleyball championship at Meade High School.

No. 5 Severna Park (11-4) won, 15-6, 10-15, 5-15, 16-14, 15-3.

After a flat start, No. 3 Arundel (13-1) dominated the second and third sets but faltered in the crucial fourth set.

"At the very end of the fourth set, I thought we were going to close it out, but it was like we blinked and lost momentum and never got it back," said Arundel coach Greg Legrand, whose Wildcats lost a 12-9 lead in that set.

Severna Park rallied to take a 14-13 lead before Arundel tied it at 14. Facing defeat, the Falcons' Laura Hertzman served the last two points, including the game-winner at match point.

Arundel never recovered as the Falcons burst to an 11-2 lead in the fifth set and went onto the 15-3 romp, with the outside hitting of Alicyn Brunnett and Emily Callison leading the way.

"The girls got excited and thought they were going to win [in the fourth set] and started acting different," Legrand said. "Sometimes pressure does that to a team. Pressure can make you look silly sometimes."

It was the Falcons' second straight title and seventh since 1994, when the title began to be decided by a championship match rather than regular-season record.

Severna Park was supposed to be rebuilding after the loss of three All-County players, including Player of the Year and All-Metro hitter Lauren Klau.

"It's so exciting and I'm very happy for my seniors," said Severna Park's second-year coach, Julie Allen, who had only five returning seniors. "Coming into this year, I don't think they knew what to expect. And I didn't either, but these girls have so much heart and really wanted it."

Last night's county title might have been the most unlikely for the Falcons. Arundel's superior athleticism led to a 3-2 victory over Severna Park in the regular season.

Sophomore Tiffany Johnson, who can crush the ball, had 22 kills and 17 blocks in that match.

To counteract the Wildcats' strength last night, Allen kept her Falcons out of the middle.

"We didn't hit out of the middle tonight, because we knew that those girls could jump and block us," Allen said. "So, we hit the most from the outside."

Brunnett, a junior hitter, had eight kills from the outside along with senior outside hitter Callison.

Brunnett led her team with eight blocks, as the Falcons did not allow Johnson to dominate.

"We went in the middle once in a while, but I think we hung onto her [Johnson] tonight," Allen said. "We blocked her, we dug her a couple times, much better than last time."

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