Spalding loses its underdog status

5-0 start shows team is a county power

September 20, 2006|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

Archbishop Spalding might be Anne Arundel County's best volleyball team for the first time in school history.

Off to a 5-0 start through last weekend, the Cavaliers defeated perennial county public school powers South River and Severna Park (each by 3-0), recorded a 3-1 win over then-No. 14 Chapelgate and beat Howard and Marriotts Ridge, which play in the tough Howard County league.

"I would rather be the underdog, rather be the sleeper and sneak up on people than be a dominant force that everyone needs to knock off," said Spalding coach Scott Rombach, who appears to have the best team in his seven years at the school. "We have more balance than we have ever had."

The Cavaliers aren't likely to be underdogs after going 15-2 and winning five straight matches over quality competition.

"We have balance, and we had six girls play club ball, which is the most we have ever had," said four-year starting setter Brittany Born, who played club for Maryland Phoenix. "Abbie [Merkl, an All-Metro hitter who graduated last year] was our absolute biggest asset, but we have so many people stepping up this year. And we don't have anyone out on the court who we can't go to and we can almost be guaranteed they will put the ball in. Everybody is solid."

Football highlights

St. Mary's improved to 3-0 with a 41-7 romp over John Carroll as Dontra Peters ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries Saturday. ... Jake Trantin, who ran for 156 yards in No. 9 Spalding's 23-3 win over Severn on Saturday, has 381 yards on 42 carries, an average of 9.1 per carry, and has scored five touchdowns. ... Damian Ferragamo got his first win as a coach Friday as Old Mill (1-1) routed North County, 49-6, with quarterback Kelian Stevens throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. ... Defending county champion Severna Park (2-0) won its 16th consecutive game against county competition, 21-14, over South River on Friday. The Falcons haven't lost to a county team since a 30-28 setback to Old Mill on Oct. 1, 2004.

Quick hits

St. Mary's Danielle Estill, a junior goalie transfer from South River, has made an immediate impression on the soccer team. Her play in the net has helped the Saints get off to a 3-1-1 start after the team won only six games in 2005. ... Al Smith is in his 32nd year as a volunteer public address announcer for Old Mill football games. pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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