Glenelg adds county title to 15-0 season

Hebron extends Glads to Game 4, but No. 2 wins


October 31, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

After breezing through its Howard County competition in the regular season without losing a game, Glenelg's volleyball team finally got the challenge it was looking for, and it responded accordingly in the county championship game.

The second-ranked and host Gladiators showed their mettle in putting a Game 3 loss behind them on their way to a 15-1, 15-6, 13-15, 15-11 victory over No. 6 Mount Hebron last night, earning the first county volleyball crown in school history.

"We wanted it more than anything, and we knew that this was the year that it was going to happen," said Gladiators middle hitter Sarah Tursell, who led her team's offense with 20 kills, four blocks and three aces. "I thought that this was the best volleyball we played all year."

But it didn't come without a huge fight from the Vikings (12-3), although for much of the early stages it appeared that the match, like so many others involving Glenelg (15-0) this season, was headed for a three-game rout.

Glenelg, behind the serving of junior Kelly Hollrah and Michelle Morgan and the other offensive work of Tursell, scored the first game's first 14 points, winning it in just 12 minutes.

"You saw six statues out there," said Vikings coach Michael Moynihan. "They were scared and they were tense."

Game 2 featured higher quality volleyball from the Vikings, but the end result was the same. A sharp Gladiators squad won game point thanks to Tursell's block on Connie Pikounis, and Tara Stradling's dump set over Vikings blockers.

But, after the Gladiators won seven of the first nine points in Game 3, the Vikings found their stride. Carly Young had a point block, Audrey Damrongsri had a kill, and two straight Glenelg errors made the score 7-6.

The Vikings later tied the game at 12 on Julia Boone's kill. The teams then traded points before Mount Hebron closed the game on a Gladiators hitting error and senior Kristin Schields' kill.

"Taking a game off this team is a huge accomplishment," said Moynihan, whose team was led by junior Stacey Carroll's 26 assists and four blocks, and Pikounis' 14 kills.

It appeared memories of the Game 3 loss lingered, as the Vikings sprinted to an 8-2 lead in Game 4. But the Gladiators drew even on a Cheyenne Davidson kill, then took an 11-8 lead on kills by Stradling and Morgan.

Kills by Morgan (eight kills) and Tursell and two straight Mount Hebron errors then assured the Gladiators of their first county title.

"A lot of people in the huddle [after Game 3] were really down, almost on the verge of tears," said Stradling, who finished with five kills, 36 assists, nine digs and four aces. "I'm pretty proud with how we responded.

"It was good for my kids to see if they let down, they can be beat," said Glenelg coach Jennifer Beall, whose team beat the Vikings in three games in the regular season and is the top seed in 2A West in the upcoming state playoffs. "They needed to be tested, and I thought Mount Hebron played really well."

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