Bryn Mawr volleyball grows with its seniors

1-17 two years ago, Mawrtians near title


November 01, 2006|By Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield | Katherine Dunn and Lem Satterfield,SUN REPORTERS

Three years ago, Louise Brooks and Meredith Larsen walked into the Bryn Mawr gym knowing nothing about volleyball.

Now seniors, they are just days away from what they hope will be a championship finish to remarkable careers that put Bryn Mawr on the volleyball map.

After winning just seven games their first two years, the Mawrtians finished 15-6 last season. They are 15-2 going into tomorrow's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference tournament semifinal.

Last week, they proved how far they have come, pushing defending A Conference champ and No. 4 St. Paul's to five games before falling, 22-25, 25-17, 26-24, 22-25, 15-10. Brooks had 27 kills in the match and Larsen had six.

Coach Tim Dunbar said their commitment has been a key to turning the program around. Both 6-foot hitters have started every match for four years.

The consistency within the program has been an important part of the Mawrtians' improvement from a 1-17 record the girls' sophomore season.

"I don't think it's what's different. I think it's what's stayed the same," said Brooks, who plays for the Time Out club. "Our coach has been with us all four years. Meredith and I have been on varsity since our freshman year, and just building the program has really been our main focus."

The core of seniors - Suzii Won, Olivia Shin, Jasmine Harrison, Gabby Bittrick, Gillian Budd and setter Abby Kallina (46 assists vs. St. Paul's) - along with precocious sophomore Theo Matthai have the Mawrtians favored to win their first volleyball title in Saturday's 3 p.m. final at Goucher College.

"Everybody just clicked," Brooks said. "We have really good chemistry and court sense with each other now."

"And we've just been working as a team on and off the court," Larsen said.

Southside's streak

Southside Academy (6-2, 5-1) leads Baltimore City's Division II in its quest for its first football playoff berth. Defensive ends David Cowan (nine sacks) and Justin Jackson (six sacks) and linebackers Alvin Cox (12 sacks) and Kevin Bowie (seven sacks) lead a team that has won six straight.

Engineering success

Poly junior running back-cornerback Lee Reynolds (102 rushing yards) accounted for all the points in last weekend's 14-0 Baltimore City Division I victory over Carver. He returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown, intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles - one of which set up his 22-yard scoring run and two-point conversion run. The Engineers (6-2) can still qualify for the Class 2A North regional playoffs.

Crusaders roll

Keiro Small rushed for 182 yards and his ninth touchdown, Laron Jones rushed for two scores and Jamar Vaughn had two interceptions as Cardinal Gibbons (8-2, 3-0 North Division) routed Boys' Latin, 36-13, last weekend in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference. The Crusaders are in line for a Nov. 10 title-game matchup with No. 5 Archbishop Spalding (9-0, 3-0 South Division), which beat the Crusaders, 13-0, earlier this season.

Double threat

Senior running backs Ray Ridgeway (5-7, 200 pounds) and Kevin Franklin (5-10, 190) are thriving for Archbishop Curley (7-2), combining for more than 1,500 rushing yards and 13 and eight touchdowns, respectively. The Friars play an independent schedule.

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