Anticipating flooding after yesterday's rain, Loudoun County canceled its after school activity buses, forcing the postponement of four volleyball games and the cancellation of all fall sports practices.

School spokesman Wayde B. Byard said the decision was made mid-afternoon because school officials wanted to get students home as early as possible.

Byard said many areas in western Loudoun can wash out almost without notice, prompting the cancellations before any roads were reported flooded.

Severna Park Earns Respect

During the first practice of her team's season, Severna Park volleyball coach Julie Allen gathered her players and gave them a goal. "Nobody is giving us respect this year," Allen said. "It's your job to earn it."

Two months later, the No. 5 Falcons (4-1) are one of the most feared teams in Maryland. After a see-saw, five-game win over No. 2 Broadneck on Monday, the Falcons are the favorites to win their eighth county championship in 10 years.

Senior captains Kendal Klein and Caitlin Ware, role players last season, have turned into reliable stars. Junior Ashlee Allen, Julie's younger sister, leads the county in kills.

"We knew we were going to be good," Ashlee Allen said. "It's not a surprise to us."

Kellum Commits to U-Va.

Bishop McNamara senior point guard Paulisha Kellum unofficially has committed to play for Virginia. The versatile, 5-foot-9 Kellum returned from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee and averaged 8.1 points per game last winter.

Kellum tore the ACL in her left knee this summer but has been cleared to play for the Mustangs this winter. Her mother, Monica Henderson, said Kellum likely will sit out until January as a precaution. . . .

Terry Short has been named the new girls' basketball coach at North County, where she served as an assistant coach last year. Short replaces Sally Entsminger, the only coach in North County's 14-year history. Entsminger retired in August.

Staff writers Judith Evans and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.