Calvert County's push to have volleyball champions in three classifications for the first time will begin tomorrow, when its most decorated program plays in an unfamiliar setting.
Northern, whose eight state championships trail only the 10 won by both Centennial and Williamsport, did not earn one of the top four seeds in the Maryland 3A South Region. Then, in the random draw of the region's remaining seven teams, the Patriots were seeded 10th.
Seedings have added meaning this year because each home match will be played at the site of the higher-seeded team. In past years, home court in later rounds was awarded to the team that had played fewer home matches in the tournament.
Northern plays its first-round match at Lackey. If the Patriots win, they will play in a quarterfinal Monday at Severna Park, which they played in a preseason scrimmage. The semifinals will be Wednesday, and the region final will be either Nov. 12 or 13.
"If you look at the draw, it isn't that bad for us," said Northern Coach Linda Curry, noting her team would not have to play top seed Huntingtown until the region final. "If we're fortunate enough to get past Lackey, then we can get to Severna Park, who we're familiar with."
Huntingtown probably will have a region semifinal matchup with the winner of the match between fourth-seeded Westlake and fifth-seeded Northeast. Leonardtown, the surprise team of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, drew the No. 3 seed and could face Northern or Severna Park in the other semifinal.
Top-ranked Centennial is the No. 1 seed in the 3A East Region and cannot meet a 3A South team until the state title match.
As a result of losing a chunk of its students to Huntingtown, defending 3A champion Calvert is now in the 2A South Region, where it is the top seed. The Cavaliers have won 33 consecutive matches and probably won't get much of a test until a likely meeting with No. 7 Glenelg, the second seed, in the region final.
In the 4A East Region, Patuxent, the 2002 3A champion, is the fourth seed and could face No. 5 Broadneck in one semifinal. Broadneck has played in the 4A title game four consecutive seasons, winning in 2000 and last season.