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Hammond goes the distance Long matches becoming volleyball team's practice


There have been five county volleyball matches that have gone five games this season.

Hammond has been involved in four of them.

Maybe they just like to play.

"It would be nice to win in three games," said Hammond backcourt specialist Jessica Garlick. "It would be nice to go home around 6 o'clock."

The Golden Bears have split their four five-game matches, defeating Howard and Atholton last month and losing to Oakland Mills and Glenelg this month. They have lost twice in three games to No. 1-ranked Centennial, including yesterday's 15-11, 15-7, 18-16 setback, and have lost in four games to No. 4 Mount Hebron. They defeated Wilde Lake in three games.

Against Centennial yesterday, Ken McLaughlin's team was hoping to win at least one game. They got very close when they served for the third game leading, 15-14. But the Eagles rallied and remained unbeaten in the league.

"It was there," said McLaughlin. "They were ahead 14-9 [in the third game] and we came back. We had our chance, we couldn't do it. But I think we've shown a lot of people were not a bad team."

Hammond (3-5) already has equaled its win total of last year.

"We're a tough team even though we don't have a big hitter," McLaughlin said. "We have to play defense and play in the right positions. The kids know they have to work for everything they get."

Without a big hitter, the Golden Bears rely on their defense to return everything and frustrate their opponent into making mistakes. That's one reason half of Hammond's matches have gone the distance.

Their last five-game match was a loss against No. 5 Glenelg on Monday.

"If you go to five games, you really want to win," said Garlick. "It was frustrating to lose to Glenelg after winning the third and fourth games."

Glenelg won the first two games, 15-3, 15-4.

"We were terrible. The worst two games we have played all year," McLaughlin said. "Then all of a sudden we woke up."

"It was like playing two different teams," Glenelg coach Marlene Janis said.

In the third game, a key block by Kyra Sliwinski and the serving of Marisha McLaughlin helped turn things around. The Golden Bears won the next two games, 15-7, 15-11, before losing the fifth game, 15-7.

"We ran out of gas in the fifth game," coach McLaughlin said. "We made too many mistakes."

Lions on a roll

Besides Centennial, Howard's field hockey team is the only other team still unbeaten in the league. The Lions play host to Hammond today and travel to Atholton on Monday.

"I think we're playing real well," said coach Pat Becker after her team's 2-1 overtime win Wednesday at Oakland Mills. "I think we have the potential to be among the top three teams in the league."

Becker said that forwards Erica Hensley, Stephanie Diamond and Amanda Eldridge have played well, as has goalie Erica Rhodeside. The Lions (4-3 overall, 2-0 league) have scored 16 goals while allowing just five.

Forward Kelly Kranz and halfback Bianca Watson, both starters last year, played for the first time this week after recovering from injuries.

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