Severna Park girls' volleyball coach Julie Allen called timeout five times in Friday's Class 3A East Region championship match against Mount Hebron. But the breaks in the action did little to stop a 15-4, 15-4, 15-6 loss. The Falcons simply ran into a team that had hit its stride at exactly the right time.
"Their passes were right to their setter, and they got a nice, hard swing on the ball every time," Allen said of the Vikings. "They had very good defense, good serve-receive, good hitting. We didn't really have one good aspect of the game tonight."
Severna Park's players were disappointed as they slumped off the floor Friday night, but they can take solace in the way they turned around their season. The Falcons, who had to replace all six starters from a 2001 squad that advanced to the state championship match, began the 2002 season with three straight losses. Two of those losses were sweeps.
But Severna Park did not crumble. The Falcons, led by junior setter Rachael Caruso, senior hitter Laura Hertzman and junior hitter Lynn Cipollone, won 14 of their next 15 matches and claimed their 16th Anne Arundel County title since 1984.
"We didn't know where we would end up after three losses to begin the season," Allen said. "But once we kind of stuck with something and kept it consistent, we really started playing together as a team. We beat Broadneck, our biggest rival in the county, and that was an amazing match. We won our county championship. Those were two things we didn't know we'd have this year. Those were very rewarding for me and the team."
Severna Park will lose just four seniors to graduation from this year's squad.
Southern's Saving Grace Southern senior soccer player Sarah Morgan doesn't mind getting a little dirty, making diving plays and hitting the ground. Her fearless attitude made her the perfect candidate for this year's open goalie position.
Morgan, who had no training in the position before volunteering at the beginning of the season, finished the season with 145 saves on 181 shots (80 percent). She made 18 saves in the 2A South Region final last Thursday in a 3-0 loss to Bethesda-Chevy Chase. Southern finished 6-8-1.
"If I was the coach of a team, I'd want someone who wanted to participate, not [someone just] put there," said Morgan, whose biggest game was holding Broadneck to a tie. "I don't mind diving for the ball; I'm not afraid to hit the ground. . . . I'll do what I can to help out the team. It's fun."
It Runs in the Family Arundel junior Bobby Schram learned all about being a quarterback long before this year's debut. The grandson of the late Largo coach Rocco Romeo, who held the record for the longest tenure of any Prince George's County coach and won a state championship in 1976, Schram grew up in a football family. Schram's uncle, Ed White, is an assistant coach at Parkdale and often comes to see him play.
White saw Schram at his best Friday in the Wildcats' 27-26 win against Meade. With about 2 minutes 30 seconds left in the game, Schram led a 90-yard drive that ended in a five-yard touchdown pass to senior Sean Mulhall.
"They're the ones who used to make me play all the time," Schram said. "Most of the stuff I know, I learned from them."
Schram led Arundel to a 6-4 record, a turnaround from last season's 3-7 finish. He totaled 1,255 yards and 15 touchdowns on 123 completions. After a winter in the weight room, Coach Chuck Markiewicz said Schram should be able to run the ball more next year.
"I call him Ichabod Crane. . . . He's just a skinny kid," Markiewicz said. "He's probably going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the state next year. He's beginning to understand the offense. If we can improve three more games next year, that puts us in the playoffs."
Sylve, Saints Stop Severn St. Mary's junior Danta Sylve was still unhappy Tuesday morning, despite contributing to the Saints' biggest football win of the season last Friday against rival Severn.
There was still no trophy.
Sylve rushed for 203 yards on 30 carries, leading St. Mary's to a 15-12 win against Severn at Anne Arundel Community College. But the Admirals forgot to bring the Severn River Classic trophy.
"We were hot," said Sylve, who led the team to a share of the MIAA B Conference title with a first-half touchdown. "They're bringing it this week."
Sylve went from a role player last year to the team's go-to running back. He shovels most of the credit to his offensive lineman. He and center Hall McMillian spend a lot of time playing NCAA college football video games together. Sylve usually picks Florida State, as it's his dream to become a Seminole. His bedroom is decorated with Florida State curtains and sheets.
Right now, though, Sylve is a Saint, and he is one of their best -- with or without a trophy.