If the players on Severna Park's two-time defending Class 4A state champion volleyball team were trying to send a message with yesterday's three-game sweep over No. 3 Broadneck, they'd be pleased to know that their signal came through loud and clear.
Those who didn't get to hear it should jot this down: Severna Park is still a team to be reckoned with.
"My kids are a little bit tired of hearing how they're not going to be as good this year and I think they wanted to send a message out to everybody that this is a good ballclub," said Severna Park coach Tim Dunbar, shortly after watching his second-ranked Falcons breeze past the host Bruins, 15-3, 15-8, 15-5.
"I think they wanted to show that they are still the best in this county and still one of the top teams in the state and they are still somebody to be considered.
"People have already dug our grave and written our tombstone and they're making our coffin for us and we're not close to death."
The Falcons (2-0) wasted no time in jumping all over the Bruins in the opening game. Behind the serving of 5-foot-8 senior Nikki Godfrey, Severna Park raced out to a 12-0 lead. Godfrey, who finished the match 17-for-19 from the service line, picked up five of her six aces in the Falcons initial run.
Broadneck regained the serve following a dink by junior Amanda Barchanowitz, but the Bruins struggled in handing the Falcons a 15-3 victory in Game 1.
"Nikki served them right off the court that first game," said Dunbar. "Broadneck was frustrated and they were lost and I don't know what actually happened on their side, but something was going wrong over there. Nikki is a good server and she was getting the ball in and it's tough to return, but that was easy. It wasn't a difficult 12 points."
Broadneck coach Glenn Brainer said he would have liked to have met Severna Park a couple of weeks down the road and attributed his team's slow start to a lack of competition early in the year.
"We haven't really had anybody that we had much competition with," said Brainer, whose team began the season with victories over Patterson, Lake Clifton and Bowie. "The way our schedule dictated, we had to go out and play a couple of city schools because no one else would play us."
The Bruins caught Severna Park relaxing in the second game and quickly built a 6-1 lead with Taci Williams doing the serving. The Falcons, however, regained their poise and tied the game at 7-7 on one Jennifer Mitchell's four blocks. The Falcons widened the margin in Game 2 on kills by Jen Conner and Julie Kasprzak before senior setter Susan Wren dropped in the game-winner.
Conner and Kasprzak finished the match with 13 kills apiece, and Wren was credited with 28 assists.
Severna Park went on an 8-1 run to start Game 3 and never looked back. Its front line kept the Bruins' two big hitters -- Julie Barr and Katie Forthofer -- at bay as they combined for only six of their team's eight kills.