Both coaches agreed that the five-set volleyball match last night at Severna Park consisted of two perennial contenders who will be tough to beat once they get it all together.
Top-ranked Towson defeated No. 6 Severna Park, 3-2, by scores of 4-15, 15-13, 15-7, 12-15, 15-12 in the season opener for both.
The Generals avenged last year's 3-1 loss to the Falcons at Towson.
As hard fought as the match was in a hot gym between defending 2A state champion Towson and last year's 3A finalist Severna Park, neither team played as well as it likely will later in the season.
"Being a big game between ranked teams, there were a lot of nerves to begin with," Towson coach Jayne Lacy said. "We just couldn't get our offense going at the beginning and our passing was not very good at all. I thought Severna Park did a great job passing."
Said Falcons coach Julie Allen: "At times, we passed well. "But we lost that [intensity] and really fell in serve/receive. We have to do it consistently." Each team showed flashes of brilliance only to go on runs of ineptness due to key graduation losses.
"Yeah, that was probably harder than we ever fought last year," said Towson senior hitter Emily Berman, who delivered the game-ending kill on match-point of the fifth game after a side out.
"This is a new team and we're trying to work together, but it's been rough at practice and on [scrimmages]. But we really pulled it together tonight at the end.
"We would go on five-minute spurts and then, it's their turn. We would go off and on, and it was frustrating. But it's really rewarding when we win like this."
Berman led the Generals with 13 kills while senior mate Stephanie Kines had a game-high 15 and Terri Stolar had 10. Amend Coffey Roberts passed well and Stephanie Heard was all over the court sparkling in the back row and near the net.
The Generals lost setter Michelle Clarke, The Sun's Player of the Year, to graduation and promising junior Emily Williams needs to gain experience.
"She has some big shoes to fill, but it wasn't all her fault, " said Lacy. "We need to pass better because we have two top guns we need to get the ball to. We didn't do that tonight."
Severna Park lost three All-County players, including Anne Arundel County Player of the Year Lauren Klau.
The Falcons were led by the serving of Lynn Cipollone and Alex Gutschick, who were 19-for-21 each. Gutschick also had 12 assists, seven aces and eight digs and Amanda Ingle was 9-for-9 serving.