Centennial's aces drop Hebron

Responding to practice on serve, No. 4 drills No. 9


High Schools

October 09, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Centennial volleyball coach Michael Bossom put his team through a drill Tuesday designed to get the Eagles to serve more aggressively.

By tying a piece of elastic string to the antennas that stand above the net posts and stretching it parallel over the length of the net, he created a 3-foot window for serves to travel through.

The point of the exercise was not lost among the fourth-ranked Eagles yesterday in a 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 home victory over No. 9 Mount Hebron.

Centennial (8-1) had 17 aces in the three-game victory while its counterpart, the Vikings (5-3), struggled for much of the match with their serve and serve reception. Mount Hebron had three aces, but sprayed 14 serves out.

"I reminded them: `Do you see that elastic up there? Aim for it,' " Bossom. "If you miss serves being aggressive, that is acceptable for us. [Aggressive serving] is a way of putting pressure on the other team and allowing us to set up our own defense."

Senior outside hitter Erika Swan, a first-team All Howard County selection last year, jump-served her way to four aces to go along with nine kills to lead the Eagles. Sophomore setter Jennifer Feldmann added three aces and 15 assists, and senior Leanna Kelly had six aces.

"I was just picturing the tape being up there," said Swan, 5 feet 10, on her serving strategy. "I just think it made me focus more."

The Eagles did miss their share of serves - 12 in all - but not in key times. With Game 1 tied at 16, Centennial senior Oye Imoisili put down a kill and then Swan served two straight aces to give the Eagles a 19-16 lead.

Later on, an ace by Olivia Kelly gave the Eagles a 23-17 lead in a game they eventually took when the Vikings were called for a net violation.

Close in Game 2, Mount Hebron was eventually undone by four service errors and six Eagles aces.

"For some reason, we struggled to return Erika's serve," said Vikings coach Michael Moynihan, whose team was led by senior Stacey Carroll's 14 assists and 11 digs and junior Connie Pikounis' six kills. "And then we'd get the ball off a great kill or a great rally, and we'd serve it into the back wall. Our serving was off today and we normally serve pretty tough."

The last game was the most tightly contested, but the Eagles eventually broke from a 17-17 tie to win on consecutive kills by Christa Schroeder and Sara Gregorini. The Vikings had inched to within 23-22 on a block by junior Maggie Serkes.

"Each game, we started off slow but we came back," Swan said. "I just think it was because of our strong serving and our serve receive."

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