Perfect start for Glenelg



No team in the county has been able to measure up to the Glenelg girls soccer team this season.

The No. 2 Gladiators returned seven varsity starters and have skill and speed at every position.

At 7-0, the program's best start, the team has yet to surrender a goal and has scored 21. Junior Diana Apel leads the Gladiators with eight goals, scoring at least one in the team's first six wins.

Which brings us to this afternoon, when the Gladiators play host to No. 8 Centennial (6-1-1) with a chance to further separate themselves from the rest. Game time is 3:30.

"I think this may be the first time we've played where we're ahead of them in the standings, but I'm not expecting it to be much different," said Glenelg coach Dean Sheridan, whose Gladiators have played Centennial to 1-1 double-overtime ties the past two seasons. "We have to stay balanced at midfield, continue to play sound defense, and it would help to get an early goal."

While Glenelg has returned a wealth of experienced talent, the Eagles, defending county champs and Class 3A state runners-up, are working on finding a new identity after graduating a quality senior class.

So far, so good.

Centennial coach Mike Senisi found some positive answers last week when his Eagles came away with a 2-0 win at River Hill, but he was quick to give his side the underdog tag for today's game.

"Glenelg is playing very well, and if you look at it on paper, they're probably the best team in the county," he said. "I think it's good to have the roles reversed. A lot of times, Centennial has been considered the dominant team and Glenelg has not always been that. This year they are, so hopefully that will be less pressure on us, and we'll see what happens."

Tough road ahead

Centennial is The Sun's top-ranked volleyball team, but will the Eagles be able to hold on to the top spot after three road matches this month?

Last weekend, Centennial solidified its ranking by winning the highly competitive North Caroline Tournament on the Eastern Shore.

With hitter Sarah Gregorini and libero Jen Hilchey sparkling defensively, the Eagles defeated Elizabeth Seton of Washington, Patuxent and host North Caroline in one-game pool play.

The defending Class 3A state champion Eagles are on a roll with 26 consecutive wins over the past two seasons, a streak second only to that of defending 2A champion and second-ranked Liberty's 46 in a row.

The Eagles have three tough matches this month on the courts of their opponents.

The Eagles (6-0, 5-0) visit No. 11 River Hill (5-1, 4-1) Oct. 14 in their only regular-season meeting. Centennial travels to No. 5 Glenelg (3-2, 3-2) on Oct. 20 and No. 4 Atholton (5-1, 5-1) on Oct. 31. Both lost, 3-2, to Centennial, pushing the Eagles to the hilt.

Lightning turnaround

What a difference a year can make.

Last season, the Long Reach boys soccer team continually found itself on the wrong end of close games - going 2-12 in the regular season with seven one-goal losses.

This year, the Lightning is off to a 4-2-1 start with a 3-1-1 mark in county play. That's two more county wins than all of last year. Senior center midfielder Orlin Cruz (three goals, four assists) is a four-year starter who runs the offense; junior sweeper Jhovaney Fuentes is the anchor in back, with senior Eugene Maksimenko capably filling a void in goal after playing midfield in years past.

"I have pretty much the same group of kids back. We're just a year older, a year more experienced, stronger, faster and better," said coach Shawn Smith. "It's all up to them. I tell them, `If you just play hard for 80 minutes, you can compete with any team because we have the talent and athleticism.' It just kind went from there."

The Lightning was down two goals to rival Howard 20 minutes into its season, but rallied for a 3-2 double-overtime win that set the positive tone for the season.

The team has since enjoyed a first-ever win against Wilde Lake, 2-1, and rallied to tie Atholton, 2-2, last week.

Golf championships

The Howard County Golf Championships will take place tomorrow, hosted by Timbers at Troy Golf Course in Elkridge. A shotgun start is planned for 8 a.m.

The county's top 48 players (four each from the 12 participating schools) will compete for individual honors in boys and girls divisions, along with an overall team champion.

Revelle injury update

Atholton junior Andrew Revelle aggravated an ankle sprain but should be ready to run at the Lancer Invitational at Kempton Park in Frederick County on Saturday.

Raiders coach Elizabeth DeFrances said Revelle, the returning Class 2A state champion, turned his right ankle during practice eight days ago.

The ankle, which was originally sprained during a basketball game this past summer, was too sore for Revelle to run on at the Harford Invitational on Friday.

"He wanted to be here," DeFrances said Friday. "We thought we could wrap some tape around it, but we didn't want to risk it."

Sun reporters Pat O'Malley and Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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