Defense gives No. 1 Centennial early edge on No. 2 Glenelg

Eagles' Hilchey difference in 5-game win over Glads


High Schools

September 14, 2005|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

At this early date in the volleyball season, the only differences between No. 1 Centennial and No. 2 Glenelg are three points and their contrasting styles.

Centennial, much quicker and more defensive-minded, squeaked out a 3-2 victory over visiting Glenelg by 25-18, 18-25, 25-19, 25-27 last night.

The much taller Glenelg squad relies on hitting and front-row power and, by coach Don Beall's choice, doesn't use a libero, a back-row defensive specialist who doesn't serve.

It would be easy to say that the Eagles' libero, junior Jennifer Hilchey, was the difference last night. But while she was outstanding with a match-high 22 digs and consistent pinpoint passing, Glenelg was right there with its hitting, led by 5-foot-11 senior Brooke Winterling.

"Jennifer's passing score was above 2.2 and that made a big difference," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "They are much taller all around, but Jennifer was in there every serve and receive, moving people around and baiting her opponents."

Hilchey had 19 digs in Friday's 3-0 triumph over then No. 1 Broadneck that moved the Eagles (2-0) from No. 2 to the top spot.

"We've adjusted well to the libero," said the 5-4 Hilchey, who played the position three years in club ball before this high school season, which is the first in which the libero has been allowed. Glenelg stayed alive by taking the hard-fought fourth game that was tied 10 times, the last at 25. After a long rally, the Gladiators took the lead on a hitting error by Centennial and won it on a kill by Julie Hollrah.

Besides the play of Hilchey, 5-11 senior Michelle Grosso was tough in the middle for the Eagles, and their bench, including second setter Kristina Swan and sophomore Leanna Farb, contributed heavily.

"Our bench was outstanding, especially Kristina, who gave our regular setter, Jen Feldmann [48 assists], a breather," said Bossom.

Grosso led the Eagles with 10 kills, two aces and five blocks; Sarah Gregorini had 10 kills, three aces and nine digs; and Julia Brostrom contributed nine kills, five digs and three blocks.

"Their middle hitter did a really nice job and we had to make adjustments on her," said Beall of Grosso. "A couple breaks either way and we win."

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