Severna Park gets wish despite not having a star

SIDELINES

High schools

October 31, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Severna Park won its 16th Anne Arundel County volleyball championship since 1984 in five games over Arundel on Tuesday, depriving the Wildcats of their first title.

It was the second in a row for the No. 5 Falcons (12-4) and the seventh since the county championship match began in 1994, but it was not your typical Severna Park champion.

Over the years, the Falcons almost always have had dominating players. Six Falcons were named county Player of the Year during the 1990s, including current coach Julie Allen (1995), and the last three winners of that decade were Falcons.

Lauren Klau became the seventh Falcon in 11 years last fall to claim the honor. Klau led her team to 20 consecutive wins before its first loss, which came in the Class 3A East region final to Northern-Calvert.

This year's team, with only five seniors, may not have a Player of the Year, but it is a talented group that meshes well without relying on any one player.

The Falcons lost their first three matches to No. 1 Towson, No. 4 Dulaney and to Calvert, No. 6 in the Washington area but have constantly improved, with different players often combining to lead the team to victories.

They have won 12 of their last 13 matches, the only loss, by 3-2, being to No. 3 Arundel (13-1) in the regular season. That was the Wildcats' first win over Severna Park in 20 years.

"When we first started, we really didn't know who was going to play what position," said senior hitter Laura Hertzman, who has been a consistent performer along with junior Lynn Cipollone. County coaches noticed them, naming them to their All-County team.

"Getting our actual starting lineup took a little bit of time, and we suffered a few games and we lost them," said Hertzman. "But what we have now is awesome. We have a lot of depth now."

The county final was a vivid example of what this team has been doing under the coaching of Allen and her assistant, Midshipman Joe Parks.

Junior Alicyn Brunnett and senior Emily Callison, both hitters, made several clutch kills and blocks in the last two must-win games of the county final, which the Falcons took by 16-14 and 15-3.

"We have really bonded together," said Callison. "I'm so proud of us. We were scared, but we were ready. We were pumped, knowing what we had coming for us."

Allen, the school's fifth coach since 1975 and the fourth to win at least two county titles, said Brunnett picked the right time - Tuesday -to play her best match of the season.

Sophomore Tiffany Johnson led the Wildcats with 22 kills and 17 blocks in the first meeting and nearly matched those numbers Tuesday with 21 and 14 . The difference was that the Falcons contained her, and their blocking was much better.

"We were very concerned, going in," said Brunnett. "We really worked on getting our blocks up there against [Johnson], but she got some good hits on us, too."

Arundel coach Greg Legrand said that his team, having never won a county volleyball title, might have succumbed to the pressure.

"We knew this was going to be a mental game, because we felt we had the skills they had," said Hertzman. "We were so pysched in the first game and went out there with no fear whatsoever. And then we kind of got a little bit discouraged toward the middle, but we got pumped up and played our best the last two."

After the Falcons took that first game, 15-6, Arundel won the second and third games by 15-10 and 15-5, turning up the heat on the Falcons.

"That was a little bit nerve-racking, but it makes us play harder and makes us push deeper and play with our hearts," said Hertzman.

Sideliners

Arundel High's annual Hall of Fame dinner will be on Nov. 16 at Michael's 8th Avenue in Glen Burnie with Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Famer Bernie Walter, the Wildcats' baseball coach and athletic director, among those to be inducted. The others to be enshrined are: Fran Parriera (baseball), Gerald Johnson (track), Sam Johnson (football) and the 1980 district boys lacrosse champion. Tickets are $40 with proceeds to a scholarship fund. Information: 410-721-4548. ... The Chesapeake Baseball Umpires Association will hold its school on Sundays at 1 p.m. beginning Nov. 3 at the North Glen Hall in Glen Burnie. Call CBUA president Jack Kramp, 410-768-9019. ... Archbishop Spalding JV girls soccer coach Tom Twombly says freshman Beth Peroutka, who had 17 goals in 11 games, is going to be "something special because she is a natural-born goal scorer - man, does she ever finish." Peroutka had four goals in one game. ... Former Brooklyn Park High and University of Miami standout pitcher Steve Day, who coaches Pope John II High in Boca Raton, Fla., has been named south Florida's Baseball Coach of the Year a second straight year.

Have a note? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499 or send e-mail to patomalleysports@aol.com.

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