Severna Park brings down flying Arundel in big hurry

Sweep stops win streak, reopens Falcons' title path

Volleyball

High Schools

October 15, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Sometimes those potential showdown-type matches don't live up to their billing.

That's what happened yesterday when No. 8 Arundel failed to show up, figuratively speaking, at No. 6 Severna Park, as the Falcons swept three games to put themselves in position to defend their Anne Arundel County volleyball title a third straight year on Oct. 28 at North County.

The Wildcats, who defeated Severna Park, 3-2, in the regular season last year, but lost to the Falcons, 3-0, in the county championship match, came into the Falcons' house last night riding a nine-game winning streak.

The Falcons were ready, to say the least, leaving both teams at 7-1 in the league and 9-2 overall with three league matches remaining.

One of Arundel's three matches is at home vs. No. 3 Broadneck (9-1, 8-0) on Tuesday. The Bruins gave the Falcons their only loss on Sept. 30.

Senior setter Rachael Caruso, who had 22 assists and was 10-for-10 serving with an ace, set up hitters Lynn Cipollone, Caitlin Ware, Ashlee Allen and Katherine O'Brien for a big night as the Falcons took the match by scores of 25-15, 25-22 and 25-19.

"We obviously weren't there mentally and not getting the ball to Tiffany [Johnson] was a big difference," said first-year Arundel coach Amy Hutson. "Had we gotten the ball to Tiffany, who knows what the outcome would have been?

"We started out really good in the second game [10-5 lead], but then we just lost it mentally. We have the skill, but just didn't use it today."

An All-County hitter last year as a sophomore, the 5-foot-10 Johnson dominated in two matches against the Falcons last year with 43 kills and 31 blocks, but last night was limited to three kills and three blocks.

Senior hitters Alex McGuire, who had seven kills and was 10-for-10 serving, and Dee Dee Matthews, who had three kills, five digs and was 7-for-7 serving, tried to pick it up for the Wildcats. Also, sophomore Kim Palmer chipped in nine digs and was 9-for-9 serving, but Severna Park coach Julie Allen had her team well-prepared by running a double-block against the middle hitters to counteract the Wildcats' height and athleticism.

"We started off a lot stronger than we usually do with our serving and hitting," said Cipollone, who was 20-for-23 serving with a match-high seven aces.

"Getting a lot of aces was intimidating and kept our momentum up. We practiced hard on double-blocking and [had] lots of coverage on the blocks."

O'Brien, who was 8-for-9 serving with four kills, added, "We have really improved on communicating as a team by talking a lot more and we're blocking a lot better and covering. When we got blocked, we covered and got the ball back up."

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