Anne Arundel Community College's volleyball team was "almost in a dead tie" with Catonsville when it traveled to the Cardinals' home gymnasium on Tuesday, said assistant coach Betty Hession.
The gap has widened in Anne Arundel's favor.
The Pioneers swept Catonsville, 15-13, 15-13, 17-15, behind 10 kills, nine solo blocks and two assists from Penni Woolford. Elena Baloglou contributed eight kills, eight blocks and four assists. Sisters Lori and Suzi Sharpless combined for 19 kills and 21 digs. Setter Mia Padgett had 35 assists.
"We're extremely happy with this win," Hession said. "We were real pleased with the blocking and defensive play. The girls said that Anne Arundel came to win, and we were in the house."
Anne Arundel (24-4 overall, 7-2 in league) travels to Charles today in its final regular-season match before the Region XX tournament Nov. 5-6 at Hagerstown.
Anne Arundel lost to Montgomery-Rockville Saturday, 5-1, with Jason Hall tallying the lone goal for the Pioneers.
Old Mill graduate Nick Badalian leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and four assists.
"He is known as a goal scorer," said coach Ken Wolf. "We knew this year he would have to assume the bulk of the scoring, and he has."
Amy Fichter recorded her first shutout last Friday as Anne Arundel downed Dundalk, 3-0.
Fichter, a Pennsylvania native, made five saves. Denise Perrone scored twice, Jola Palumbo had one goal and the Pioneers held an 18-5 advantage in shots.
Fichter, who hadn't played soccer until this year, began the season as a midfielder until goalkeeper Rayelynn Drake of Annapolis Area Christian School was injured.
Both of Fichter's knees had been bothering her -- she would ice them during halftime and could barely make it through a 90-minute shift -- so the switch to goalkeeper made sense to coach Jim Shuck.
"Amy is quick, fast, the whole bit," he said. "She's improving there at a quicker pace than she would have on the field."
Anne Arundel has been troubled by injuries all season, but Shuck has most of his players back as the Region XX Tournament approaches. Only Jennifer Rice (back) is out for the year.
The Pioneers were 6-12 going into yesterday's game at Montgomery-Rockville, but Shuck said, "We've been in six of those losses."