At this time next week, volleyball fans in the county will be looking forward to top-ranked Centennial's showdown with No. 3 Glenelg on Oct. 19.
Until then, there's plenty of quality volleyball, with a lot of the top teams going up against each other to get an idea as to where each team stands.
The clues start tomorrow when Glenelg travels to Mount Hebron, and River Hill visits Reservoir. On Monday, River Hill gets a crack at visiting Centennial, and Reservoir will be at Glenelg.
For coaches, it's a key stretch of the regular season that provides a good gauge as to where their respective teams may be with the playoffs fast approaching.
"I feel that traditionally - from top to bottom, year in and year out - the two counties in Maryland that are the strongest for volleyball are Howard and Calvert," Centennial first-year coach Jerry Hulla said. "Howard County to me is the Pac-10 of high school volleyball in Maryland. And it's very beneficial for us to be able to play tough competition night in and night out - that definitely helps us as we get closer to postseason play."
With a win at rival Mount Hebron and an unprecedented third straight title at North Caroline's Bulldog Tournament a couple of weekends ago, the Eagles have already stepped up.
Hulla has been particularly impressed with the strong leadership of senior hitter Michelle Grosso and the continued development of 5-foot-3 junior hitter Tehya Mockapetris.
"Tehya has really come a long way with her game. She has always been a very physical player - she's small in stature, but jumps out of the gym and is just a great athlete," Hulla said.
"Michelle has always been a player who says, `I want it,' and means it, but I had not seen that before from Tehya, nor had her team. That was a real positive thing for them to see her step up and say, `Give me the ball, and if you need to set me every time, I'm fine.' "
River Hill on roll
With its 32-16 win over rival Long Reach and help from other teams Friday, the No. 2-ranked River Hill football team (5-0 overall, 5-0 in the county) has opened up a comfortable two-game cushion atop the county standings.
Three teams went into last week's play with 3-1 county marks, including Long Reach, but each lost, with Centennial falling to Glenelg, 16-8, and Reservoir handled by Wilde Lake, 42-7.
The front-running Hawks, who got a combined five touchdowns from running back Zach Martin and Mike Campanaro, will travel to Atholton Friday to try to keep their winning streak intact.
Dragons fired up
The Glenelg Country School boys soccer team went into the week with a five-game winning streak, putting the Dragons (7-4 overall) in first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference with a 7-2 league mark.