No. 5 Severna Park beats No. 1 St. Paul's with back-to-basics approach

Falcons beat Gators, 3-0, behind Kline's big day

September 12, 2014|By Mike Frainie | For The Baltimore Sun

In Severna Park's season-opening win earlier this week, Falcons coach Tim Dunbar didn't like the way his players were executing. He decided to go back to the basics: passing, blocking and playing defense.

The emphasis paid off big time for the fifth-ranked Falcons, as they out-hit and out-defensed top-ranked and visiting St. Paul's (0-2), 25-11, 25-16, 25-14, in a nonleague game.

The Falcons (2-0) were led by junior setter Morgan Kline, who contributed 29 assists, 10 digs, and two aces.

The Falcons have one of the most potent offenses in the area with All-Metro performer Sophie Hoekstra and outside hitter Tara Register, and that offense led the team to the Class 4A state finals last season, where they lost. Dunbar said improving defense and fundamentals will be key to improving.

"I feel really good about the way we played," Dunbar said. "The things we've been working hard on in the gym are finally coming to fruition. We moved well [on defense] and executed well. Today our defense was as good as our offense."

Kline played a major part in that execution. She helped get the match off on the right foot, serving seven consecutive winners, including an ace, to change a 2-2 tie into an 8-2 lead in the first set. After St. Paul's' Bella Pivec recorded a kill, the Falcons went on an 8-3 run to build a 16-5 lead. The Gators never threatened again in the set.

St. Paul's preformed much better in the second set. The Gators, behind two kills and a block by Jillian Randolph and a kill by Pivec, built a 10-5 lead and looked to be getting into a rhythm. The Falcons responded with kills by Register and Mary Smith to tie the score at 11-11.

Then the blocks started coming, first by Smith, and then by Hoekstra, and Severna Park built an 18-15 lead. After Gators coach Aisha Mason called a time out, the Falcons used two aces by Hoekstra to go on a 7-1 run put the set away, 25-16.

Severna Park took an early 7-3 lead in the third set and coasted to a 25-14 win to close out the match.

"We thought we had a lot to prove with them being the top-ranked team in the area," Kline said. "I thought we worked well together today. Our passing was good, and our blocking was excellent."

Hoekstra said the loss in last year's state final is a motivator.

"It's definitely a goal for us," Hoekstra said. "I'd love to get back there, but we can't think about that right now. We just have to keep trying to get better and better. I think we have what it takes, but it's a long season. We play a lot of great teams, and there's a lot of volleyball left."

No. 5 Severna Park d. No. 1 St. Paul's, 25-11, 25-16, 25-14.

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