Even when Centennial's volleyball team isn't performing at peak efficiency, the Eagles are usually too tough for their competition.
Take last night's 15-7, 15-9, 15-6 victory over Atholton. The Eagles sputtered at times with their serves, recording a season-high nine service errors, including four in a sloppy second game. In the first game, they allowed Atholton to turn a healthy 10-1 Centennial lead into an uncomfortable 10-7 advantage.
But in the end, Centennial had all the answers -- solid passing, great defense and the potent front row of Shannon Saltzman, Laura Taneyhill and Carly Cangiano.
Saltzman, Taneyhill and Cangiano each had 10 kills to lead Centennial. The Eagles (4-0) won their 23rd straight match, and took another step toward their sixth county title and second consecutive 3A state championship. Coming off a 19-0 season in which they lost only four games all season, the Eagles have yet to lose a game this fall. Atholton fell to 2-2.
"For me and the other seniors, this is our last year together, and we want to win the states again. We want to know that feeling again," said Taneyhill, a 5-foot-8 hitter who played a terrific match. In addition to her play at the net, she led the Eagles with three aces and 12 passing points.
Taneyhill, Saltzman (6-0) and Cangiano (5-11) took turns frustrating Atholton at the net with their blocking ability, and by pounding the ball at holes in the Raiders' defense. Most of their points resulted from excellent setting by Sezin Omer and Carrie Shadrick.
In the opener, the Eagles jumped out to a 10-1 advantage, but watched three kills by Atholton's Kelly Smith complete a 6-0 run that closed the gap to 10-7. Centennial regained the serve, scored on a kill by Taneyhill and finished the Raiders with a pair of aces by Cangiano. Centennial took another 10-1 lead in the second game, but the Eagles lost their hitting touch, and Atholton crept to within 13-9. Then, Krisha Svehla, another 6-foot hitter, produced two straight kills to complete the game.
The Eagles were at their most efficient in the third game, when Centennial coach Bill Shook reached deep into his bench. All 15 players played for the Eagles.
Severna Park 3, Old Mill 0
Top ranked Severna Park (4-0, 2-0) defeated No. 7 Old Mill (3-2, 1-1) 15-3, 15-10, 15-11 in an Anne Arundel County Friendship Division match at Old Mill. Lori Sharpless had 10 kills in the match and was 11-for-11 in serving with five aces for Severna Park. Julie Kasprzack and Kate Marks each had five kills for the Falcons.
Perry Hall 3, Catonsville 1
Patricia Ysern served with 95 percent accuracy (19-for-20) as No. 7 Perry Hall (3-0, 3-0) posted a 16-14, 2-15, 15-11, 16-14 upset of host and No. 3 Catonsville (2-1, 2-1) in a 4A-3A Baltimore County League match. Lori Johnson led the Gators with 18 kills in the match. Tracy Morgan and Hee Lim each had eight kills for Perry Hall.