Bel Air volleyball builds momentum in rebuilding year

Notebook

October 07, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special To The Sun

Bel Air boys volleyball coach Larry Tsomos faced a tough task when this season began.

The Bobcats lost all six of their starters and nine of 12 players from last year's Harford County championship team. But despite having so many new players, Bel Air has started 6-3 and stayed near the top of the county standings.

"It hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be," said Tsomos, who said the fact that his team hadn't played much together forced him to stick to the basics. "These kids are very intelligent and adapt well to new situations."

The Bobcats have relied heavily on both their starters and reserves. Senior hitter Kyle Wieczynski is the team's lone four-year player. Classmates Austin Poane (setter), John Lambert (hitter) and Nate Frieswyk (hitter) also start, along with junior hitters James Claypool and Brad Filberzahn.

Juniors Luke Jackson (setter), Tim Dowding (defensive specialist) and senior Kevin Ayers have helped off the bench.

Tsomos and the Bobcats are pointing toward a shot at one of the two county titles. There is a regular-season championship as well as a postseason tournament crown - which Bel Air won last year, topping Havre de Grace in the final.

That was the Bobcats' fifth county tournament title since the competition began in 1996. Boys volleyball in Harford County began in the mid-1970s, but the tournament didn't start until 1996.

Getting better

Calvert Hall's soccer team rolled to a 5-0 victory over John Carroll when the teams met early in the season, but the Patriots were ready when they got together again last week.

Sparked by a strong defensive effort, John Carroll battled the Cardinals to a 0-0 tie, an outcome that coach Simon Cotton was pleased with.

"I thought we played really well," Cotton said. "I was really pleased with our boys."

Cotton shook things up defensively. He used three defenders (Jacob Dacey, Graham Archer and Jon Silva) instead of four while having Gabe Kuhn serve as more of a defensive midfielder. The change worked nicely, as the Patriots controlled a large number of 50-50 balls in the midfield and kept Calvert Hall from moving on offense and bothering goalie James Hetzel.

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game remained scoreless through double overtime, and the improvement delighted Cotton - especially considering what happened in the first meeting.

"I think we've progressed since then," Cotton said. "We're still a little bit inconsistent, but I think we're ironing it out."

The tie improved John Carroll's overall record to 3-5-1 (3-4-1 in the A Conference), as the Patriots are slowly building in Cotton's second year. John Carroll lost to eventual champion Archbishop Curley in last year's conference semifinals.

No three-peat?

The C. Milton Wright girls soccer team won the first three Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championships. But that streak is in jeopardy.

Fallston handed the Mustangs a 2-0 loss on Wednesday and has a solid lead in the Chesapeake Division. The Cougars are 3-0 in the division (9-0-1 overall) with three games left, while C. Milton Wright is 2-2 (7-2-1 overall). The Mustangs have just two games to go.

The winner of the Chesapeake Division meets the Susquehanna Division winner for the UCBAC crown.

C. Milton Wright coach Paul Austin said his team must regain some of the intensity it's played with in the past. The Mustangs also lost to Bel Air last week.

"We're going to use this to learn from and get ready for the playoffs," Austin said. "We've got to find a way to get that kind of a chip back on our shoulder."

Bull Run

The C. Milton Wright girls turned in an impressive performance at last weekend's Bull Run Invitational at Hereford.

The Mustangs placed four girls in the top 10 to score an easy victory over Wootton in the large schools division.

The Mustangs' Sara Bailey, Lindsay Smith and Erica Scripa finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, while Shannon Rafferty ended up 10th.

"The Bull Run is usually a turning point for us," Bailey said. "This just [shows] us that we're running great as a team."

The C. Milton Wright boys also ran well. Bethesda-Chevy Chase won with 85 points, and the Mustangs took second (101). Pete Houlian led C. Milton Wright with his fourth-place finish.

The Bel Air boys finished third in the elite division. Mount Hebron won with 52 points, beating out Centennial (78) and the Bobcats (83). Brandon Ropiski led the way for Bel Air with his fourth-place finish. The Bobcats' Alex Lohrmann (ninth) also ran well.

Joppatowne on top

Joppatowne football's 14-11 victory over North Harford nine days ago helped the Mariners take first place in the Class 1A East region standings. The Mariners improved to 3-1 with the win. North Harford (3-1) is second in the Class 3A East region, right ahead of Bel Air (third).

North Harford lineman Corey Jubb is recovering from a concussion he suffered in the first half of that game and was expected to play Friday against C. Milton Wright. Jubb kicked a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter against Joppatowne before he got hurt.

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