After losing its first three matches this season, the Severna Park volleyball team had coach Julie Allen worried on Tuesday night with No. 11 C. Milton Wright (1-1) visiting.
Allen's fears of going 0-4 heightened initially, but she was smiling later.
In her rookie season last year, Allen led the Falcons to 20 consecutive wins before losing in the 3A state final to Northern-Calvert.
The losing streak reached four when the Falcons opened this season with losses to No. 1 Towson (3-2), Calvert, ranked No. 7 by the Washington Post and Dulaney, ranked No. 4 by The Sun, the latter two matches by 3-0 scores.
Then on Tuesday, the host and No. 9 Falcons dropped the first game to Harford's C.M. Wright, 15-6.
Allen was relieved when her team bounced back to take the next one 15-4 and the next two 15-6 and 15-3 for a 3-1 victory.
Junior hitter Katherine O'Brien was the team's most consistent player in the first three matches this year, according to Allen, and she had five kills, seven digs and two blocks against C.M. Wright.
Teammates Lynn Cipollone and Laura Hertzman also sparkled along with defensive specialist Amanda Ingle. Cipollone was 18-for-19 serving with three aces and six kills, and Hertzman was 11-for-12 serving with four kills and an ace. Ingle was 16-for-18 serving with an ace and had 11 digs.
Does the tough, early schedule benefit the team even when you lose?
"Yes, we keep our schedule the same every year," said Allen, referring to the philosophy of her former coach, Tim Dunbar, that has continued.
"It's going to make us better in the long run. Win or lose you're still playing good teams and getting good volleyball. I definitely think it's a good experience, a lot different than most of our county games, but we've got a lot of work to do before we play Broadneck and Arundel."
Severna Park plays No. 8 Broadneck (1-1) and No. 6 Arundel (2-0) back-to-back on Oct. 3 and 8.
The second annual Baltimore Catholic League boys basketball All-Star Showcase is set for Sunday at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn.
Each of the BCL's eight teams will be represented in two games, the underclassman game at 1 p.m. and the seniors game at 2.30 p.m. A horde of college coaches are expected to attend and see the top prospects the BCL has to offer.
Host Spalding will have Jesse Brooks, Jason Loughry and Rudy Gay in the underclass game, with Gus Durr Jr., Tim Brackney and Dave Douglas in the senior game.
Durr Jr., a 6-foot-6 forward, has orally committed to Mount St. Mary's, where he will join former teammate Landy Thompson. Thompson was an All-Metro guard at Spalding last year.
Gay is a 6-6 junior transfer from Eastern Tech in Baltimore County, where he averaged 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Class 2A state semifinalist Mavericks.
Eastern Tech (19-8) was ranked No. 18 in The Sun's final Top 20 poll last year after making their first trip to the state final four.
Spalding coach Mike Glick says that Gay, a Division I prospect, transferred for "academic reasons" because he wants to play college basketball.
The No. 13 Annapolis Area Christian School's volleyball team ran its overall record to 8-0 with a 3-0 win over Glen Burnie, the Eagles' second victory over a county public school team. ... Beebe Castro, who will receive the County Executive's Trophy at the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Oct. 16 for her contributions to county athletics, is the mother of Dale Castro, a 1997 inductee into the Hall. Dale was an All-American kicker at Maryland who played an exhibition game with the Dallas Cowboys before being cut. For ticket information, call Bill Wentworth at 410-987-4732. ... Severna Park's superb goalie Scott McGuire hopes to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. ... McGuire's coach, Don Gregg, who got career win No. 300 Tuesday at Annapolis, didn't want to offend his players who doused him with ice water, but said the celebration after his 200th win at Arundel was more to his liking. Gregg was buried in confetti that night. ... One of Gregg's former longtime assistant coaches, Bob Planey, was in attendance for No. 300. ... Sam Steinmark, an ex-Navy assistant football coach whose son, Fred Steinmark, is Broadneck's senior quarterback, is on Jeff Herrick's Broadneck coaching staff this season.
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