Fourth-ranked Centennial posted a 25-19, 25-27, 25-21, 25-14 victory over 10th-ranked Glenelg in the county volleyball championship match last week, but neither team had very long to think about the evening.
By the time about 700 spectators had left the Centennial gymnasium, both teams were focusing on the next part of the season: the playoffs.
"Winning the county title was great, but it's not the main goal," said outside hitter Sarah Gregorini, who recorded 10 kills and five aces. "The big thing for us is winning the state championship."
Defending Maryland 3A champion Centennial (13-1) has a state-high 11 titles, including six in the past nine years, and is the top seed in the 3A East Region tournament.
Glenelg, which won the 2A state title in 2002 and lost in the state final in 2003, is the second seed in a 2A South Region that features Calvert (14-0), Atholton (11-3) and Reservoir (11-3), which won the region tournament last year.
"Just because we didn't win the county title, our season is far from over," Glenelg Coach Don Beall said. "Our region is the toughest in the state. I think whatever team wins it is going to win the state tournament, and hopefully that's us."
Centennial and Glenelg, which split a pair of regular season matches, played one of the best matches of the year in the county title competition. Glenelg and Centennial have met in the past three county title matches, with Centennial winning the past two.
Centennial was led by junior middle hitter Michelle Grosso (15 kills, 2 blocks), senior outside hitter Allison Cappelaere (7 kills, 5 aces) and Gregorini.
"Every time we play, we know the stakes are high," Centennial senior setter Jen Feldmann said. "We both push each other, and that's what makes the games so good."
Wilde Lake Reloads
Wilde Lake Coach Whitty Bass figured his boys' cross-country team would have a rebuilding season this fall because it returned just one runner from last year's team.
"I wasn't sure how much I could push them since we had a lot of new runners," he said. "But it didn't turn out that way."
Wilde Lake won the Howard County and Maryland 3A East Region titles and now is looking for its first state title since 1996 on Saturday at Hereford High in Parkton.
The Wildecats are led by Travis Boccher, J.P. Allera and Derek Lange, who swept the top three places at the 3A East Region meet at Centennial, with Boccher finishing the 3.1-mile course in seventeen minutes 29 seconds, one second ahead of Allera.
"At the beginning of the season, I don't think anyone knew what would happen with us," said Allera, the returning starter. "We won counties and regions, so we know we have it in us to win states."
River Hill Gaining
The River Hill girls' cross-country team finished second behind Severna Park at the Maryland 3A East Region meet last week, but the Hawks are confident the teams' next competition, at the state championship meet on Saturday, will have a different outcome.
"I think we're getting closer to them, and we still believe if we all run our best, we can win," said senior Bess Seelaus. "Severna Park is a great team, but I think we have what it takes."
At last year's meet, Severna Park finished third behind champion C.M. Wright and Northwest, with River Hill placing 11th.
At the region meet, Severna Park placed five runners in the top 10, led by freshman Kelsey Hill, who won the race in 19:19.
The Falcons took the team title with 30 points, well-ahead of River Hill (70), which was led by a second-place showing by Katie Harman in 19:50. Bel Air was third (92) and Mount Hebron fourth (128).
"I think the mental aspect plays a big part of running, and I think we have one over River Hill," said Severna Park Coach Ed Purpura. "That doesn't mean we'll win, but I really like where we are heading into the state championships."