Centennial calms down, advances to state final



Waldorf -- Even defending state champions get a little nervous when they reach the state volleyball tournament.

Top-ranked Centennial did last night at North Point High School, but the jitters didn't last long for the Eagles.

The Eagles shook their nerves near the end of the first game, a 25-22 victory over North Carroll, and went on to sweep the Panthers in three games, the last two by 25-16, 25-11.

Strong hitting, featuring four Eagles with seven or more kills each, and the typical Centennial counterattack on defense returned the Eagles to the Class 3A state final at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow vs. Huntingtown at Ritchie Coliseum in College Park.

"We were a little nervous and that's why we started slow and a little shaky," said Centennial junior outside hitter Tehya Mockapetris.

"I think it was the atmosphere with the gym being so much bigger than we are used to playing in. And we have a lot to live up to. By the second game, we started finding our spots."

Mockapetris, who can really leap high despite being just 5 feet 3, had seven kills along with Sarah Korn.

Michelle Grosso led the Eagles (18-1) with nine kills, followed by Sarah Gregorini, who also had nine digs.

Junior Jen Hilchey had a match-high 13 digs to lead the Eagles' defense.

"There is a lot expected of these girls from their parents, people at the school and their fans and sometimes they make it bigger than it really is," said Eagles coach Mike Bossom, who hopes to lead his girls to the school's 12th state title tomorrow night, the seventh under him.

"This is a big gym and depth perception can be a problem, but that is no excuse for all the errors we made tonight. We made more errors than we usually do, but we will work on that in practice [today]."

North Carroll got a good effort from senior hitters Katie Sandberg and Heather Langsdale and finished its season at 12-5.

Huntingtown 3, No. 7 Towson 1 -- Making their sixth straight appearance in the state tournament, the Generals, who won their only state championship in 2001, ran into a talented Huntingtown team that is playing only its second varsity season. The Generals (16-3) were in every game but couldn't finish. The first game was back and forth with not more than two to three points separating the teams, and junior hitter Kaitlin Ledonne's shot whizzed off the hand of the Generals' diving libero, Jess Gundel, to give the Hurricanes a 26-24 victory. Towson led 24-22, but couldn't close it. The tough loss carried over to the second game as the Generals started slow, but came back to win, 25-23, on the serving of Helen Wolf and the hitting of Liz Bond. In the third game, Towson led all the way until the Hurricanes took the lead at 24-23 and won by 28-26. It gave the 'Canes the momentum to close out the match, 25-12.


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