Centennial's top-ranked volleyball team opened its season last night on the road with a 15-8, 9-15, 15-4, 15-7 victory over Northern of Calvert County.
"We played really well in games one, three and four," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "They played better in game two, but we had a lot of uncharacteristic errors."
Briana Zolak led the Eagles with 11 kills. Roybn West had nine kills, nine aces and one point block. Lisa Chapman had 20 assists and eight aces.
"This match will help us," said Bossom. "Northern is such a solid team. They showed us where some of our weaknesses are and this will make us a stronger team."
Northern was 76-0 over the past three years and had won three state titles. But it graduated seven seniors -- most of them started -- and is 0-2 this season.
This volleyball season will be unique, because for the first time in county history, teams have been split into two divisions and the league winner will be decided in a one-match playoff.
After much debate, the unnamed divisions were selected by random draw. In one are Centennial (15-0 county record last year), Mount Hebron (12-3), Glenelg (9-6), River Hill (8-7) and Wilde Lake (2-13). The other has Atholton (10-5), Hammond (9-6), Oakland Mills (8-7), Howard (2-13) and Long Reach (0-15).
Each team will play opponents from its own division twice and teams in the other division once for a total of 13 matches. That allows two out-of-county matches, including tournaments, which were unavailable in last year's schedule. Centennial and River Hill, for example, will play in the prestigious Bulldog Classic on Oct. 4 at North Caroline.
The two divisional winners -- Centennial and Hammond are the preseason favorites -- will meet Oct. 29 at a neutral site to determine a county champion.
The divisions certainly are not evenly divided by strength. Centennial, Mount Hebron, Glenelg and River Hill are four of the top team's in the county. But Glenelg coach Marlene Dugan is happy to be where she is.
"I like the fact that we're playing tougher teams [twice]," Dugan said. "I think that will help us out in the regionals."
Don Disney, coordinator of athletics, said the format and schedule is for two years.
Also noted about volleyball:
The county season opens next Tuesday with two matches between ranked teams. No. 1 Centennial plays host to No. 9 River Hill, and No. 3 Glenelg plays at No. 6 Mount Hebron.
Atholton coach Mike Kalinock and his wife, Janice, are celebrating the one-month birthday of their first child, Jane Katherine Kalinock. Mike said Jane, born Aug. 12, is a "middle hitter in the making."
Glenelg's Dugan and her husband, Mike, are expecting the couple's first child in February.
Oakland Mills junior goalie Lezette Pearsall is out indefinitely after surgery Wednesday night to repair torn cartilage in her left knee. Pearsall was hurt while playing for her club team (Bethesda Broncos) over the Labor Day weekend.
Sophomore Nicole Petro has replaced Pearsall and has done well in the Scorpions' first two games -- a 1-0 loss to 15th-ranked McDonogh and a 2-2 tie against No. 3 Arundel.
"She's doing everything we've asked her to do," said Oakland Mills coach Steve Matters. "She's getting better and gaining more confidence all the time. I think she'll do just fine."
Junior Elizabeth Pitta is Petro's backup.
Atholton hosts what it plans to be an annual girls tournament next week. Here's the schedule: Monday -- Hammond vs. Howard at 3 p.m. followed at 4: 45 p.m. by Atholton vs. Long Reach. Wednesday -- consolation at 3 p.m. and championship at 4: 45 p.m. Admission is $2 for students and $3 for adults for both games each day.
River Hill JV girls coach Joany Kelso Smedley had a second son, Brett, Sept. 4 at Howard County General Hospital. Smedley was back coaching two days later. Brett joins older brother Brendan, 2, and father, Larry.
Smedley, then named Kelso, was an All-American in 1984 when she played at Wilde Lake.
Field hockey notes
The River Hill Hockeyfest -- a two-day tournament -- begins at 3: 30 p.m. today with Hammond playing Oakland Mills. Long Reach takes on River Hill at 5 p.m. The consolation game begins at 10 a.m. tomorrow and the championship is scheduled for noon. Free.
Glenelg will play host to Centennial today in the county opener. ++ Long Reach, Atholton, Oakland Mills, River Hill and Hammond play county openers Monday and Tuesday. Howard, Mount Hebron and Wilde Lake don't start county play until Sept. 23.
In case you missed it, Long Reach, which went winless in its first season last year, won its season-opener, 1-0 in overtime, last Friday against North County. An Nguyen had the goal, Bridgette Burkhardt the assist, and goalie Jay Lance stopped five shots.
Speaking of Long Reach, coach Kelly Morano and Jeremy Snyder, Glenelg's JV football coach and recently named boys varsity basketball coach, are planning to marry next July 4.
Pub Date: 9/12/97