No. 7 Severna Park finds path to victory blocked

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Severna Park couldn't match Calvert's blocking, and the host Falcons' serve-and-receive game was off in a 3-1 loss last night. The Calvert County team won, 25-13, 25-21, 20-25, 25-16.

Calvert came into Severna Park's gym as the No. 6-ranked team in The Washington Post's Top 10, and with nine returning players and a sophomore standout in Whitney Johnson. The Cavaliers (3-0) wasted little time in gaining the upper hand on The Sun's No. 7 Falcons (2-1), who were coming off last week's 3-1 victory over another Calvert County power in Patuxent, by taking the first two games.

"They're the best team we've played so far," said Calvert's fifth-year coach, Dave Redden, whose team, along with Northern-Calvert, the Washington area's No. 3 team, is in the Class 3A South region with Severna Park in the new state alignment.

"They're well-coached. Whitney [Johnson] is very athletic and focused. Our big thing is, if we serve aggressively and pass well, we usually do pretty well. We were kind of patty-caking the ball for a while, but then our blocking came on. But they had some blocks, too. That No. 14 [Ashlee Allen] of theirs on the outside was putting the ball down on us, going up on the left side and hitting the ball straight down until we adjusted."

Severna Park outside hitters, senior Lynn Cipollone (12 kills, 13 digs, 15-for-15 serving with one ace) and sophomore Allen (six kills, 10 digs, four blocks, 7-for-9 serving), agreed that the Falcons were "a little intimidated in the beginning."

"They were a very good team, and that No. 12 [Johnson] in the middle is a very good blocker, and she got us a lot," said Allen, 5 feet 11. "Personally, I was very intimidated by her, but I was better at the end."

Coach Julie Allen, the older sister of Ashlee, said the Cavaliers "were very consistent serve-receiving the whole match," while her Falcons were not.

"They were a much better team than Patuxent, much better passers, and have great all-around hitters, not just one hitter," said Julie Allen.

Johnson, who is 6-1 and reminded Falcons senior Alicyn Brunnett of Arundel's powerful All-County hitter, Tiffany Johnson, was hitting over top of the Falcons and was difficult to block. At the same time, she was excellent blocking on the Falcons' hits. Allen put two players up on Johnson near the end, and it worked for a while in the third game, which Severna Park won.

In the fourth and final game, a serve by Jessica Forsythe gave Calvert the lead for good at 16-15, and Johnson followed with a power block over the net that put the Cavaliers on their way to victory.

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