Broadneck volleyball coach Glenn Brainer wasn't exactly going out on a limb when asked about his team's chances against Severna Park in the Class 4A, Region IV volleyball final. He wouldn't even go near the tree.
"We know we're going to have to play hard to even come close to Severna Park," Brainer said after the Bruins' 3-1 region semifinal victory Wednesday over Old Mill. "But we're excited about having the chance."
The second-seeded Bruins had the chance last night at Severna Park, but Severna Park had the winning ticket with the numbers, 15-11, 15-1, 15-10.
The 3-0 victory marked the ninth time Severna Park has qualified for the state playoffs and the fourth time the Bruins have been stopped in the region final.
"Trying to get through Severna Park is tough," said Brainer. "This is the toughest region in the state. Getting by Old Mill was tough enough. We have a good team, but every year we come in second. But, I guess it beats being third, fourth, fifth or sixth."
The top-seeded Falcons (16-0), whose last loss was to Broadneck in the 1990 region semifinals, showed their maturity in winning their 35th consecutive match. Catherine Kirk, Jen Connor, Julie Kasprzak and Amy Patton shared high kill honors with six each.
"My team has a number of hitters and we spread things out, which makes it very hard to defend," said Falcons coach Tim Dunbar, whose squad hopes to bring Severna Park its fourth state title. "I mean, who are you going to shut down?"
The Bruins didn't have the answer.
Broadneck (13-3), which took the first game from the Falcons, 15-0, in the the third match of the season before losing the next three, got off to another strong start and built a 6-1 lead. Severna Park came back out after a timeout and methodically narrowed the margin before Kasprzak tied it at 7 with a whistling spike.
Behind the serving of Patton and Kirk (16 of 17), the Falcons opened a 12-8 lead. Broadneck rallied back to within two on an ace by Amanda Barchanowicz and a Julie Barr spike, but that was a close as they would come.
"We were letting them dictate the tempo of the game," Dunbar said of his team's slow start.
"I told my players [during the timeout] that we had to play to our level. We're not a team that's good at volleying back and forth. We like to put the ball away as soon as possible."