Eagles set their sights ever higher and higher With fresh talent, target is for third straight title Centennial 1993 high school volleyball preview


What's left for Centennial's volleyball team?

Not only are the Eagles two-time defending Class 3A state champs, but they also are riding a 43-match winning streak. They haven't lost since the regional finals in 1990.

The Eagles polished off last season with the No. 1 ranking in The Baltimore Sun poll and No. 19 in the nationwide Mizuno Poll in USA Today.

Every time it seems they cannot possibly get any better, the Eagles do. They've won three of the past four state Class 3A championships and six of the past nine Howard County titles for 10th-year coach Bill Shook, the Metro Coach of the Year last fall.

What next?

This team could be better than last year's, despite losing three of the county's premier players.

Most teams could not absorb the loss of Metro Player of the Year Shannon Saltzman, All-Metro hitter Laura Taneyhill and All-County setter Sezin Omer. But Shook and the Eagles are talking about a three-peat and beyond.

Those predictions are built on a pair of 6-foot middle hitters, Carly Cangiano and Krisha Svehla, and veteran setter Carrie Shadrick. Those three easily should fill the holes left by the graduation of last year's stars.

"The way I run my program, graduation should never hurt us," said Shook. "I always take a very large freshman class, and after that, it's like musical chairs. I take away a chair each year, so I only have four or five seniors each year. Someone is always being groomed to step in when somebody graduates."

With that kind of never-skip-a-beat turnover, Shook has his eye ,, on the state record for consecutive titles, but it will be a while before the Eagles get close. Thomas S. Wootton High of Montgomery County dominated Class 4A with seven straight titles in the 1980s.

For now, however, the Eagles will concentrate on winning No. 3 with a wealth of talent that runs much deeper than Shook's top three. As in years past, all of the Eagles should see plenty of action with the way they mow down their opposition.

Senior captain Susan Green is the top defensive specialist, and senior Kerri Rosenstein and junior Chrissy Sfakianos also will see action in the back row. Junior Sheri Kujawa, who can hit, too, will help Shadrick with the setting chores, as will sophomore Jenny Climm.

The rest of the power hitters are senior Erika Hockycko, juniors Michelle Dugan, Erin Tucker, Kelly West and Marci Kunkel and sophomore Amy Adams.

The Eagles, who coasted through postseason play last fall, again should face their toughest competition within the Howard County league and at the North Caroline Tournament on Oct. 16. The annual Eastern Shore event is one of the top tournaments in the state, drawing top-notch teams.

Last year in their first appearance, the Eagles won the tournament, beating eventual state Class 4A champ Severna Park in the final.

"We build up the importance of the regular season and the tournament, because it really does have a lot more prestige than the state tournament. With the state tournament divided into four classifications, the best teams get divided up," said Shook, whose squad also beat the other two state champs, Williamsport and Mount Hebron, last season.

Other than repeating a sweep of their 1992 titles, the Eagles have one other goal. Believe it or not, a little imperfection remains to be mopped up.

There's the matter of the three games lost last year. That means the Eagles won 72 games and lost three during their 24 matches. They were never in danger of losing a match. Nonetheless, the possibility of winning every game gives this year's team something to shoot for.

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