The start of the volleyball season is usually hectic enough for Good Counsel Coach Karen Kart, but this season it turned chaotic. When the school's junior varsity coach quit on the first day of tryouts, Kart added the JV job to her head coaching responsibilities. Then her varsity team lost its season opener in three games to Maret.

But with help from parents and others, and the resiliency of her players, the Falcons have rebounded with four consecutive victories -- including a five-game victory over Washington Catholic Athletic Conference heavyweight Paul VI Catholic. Six days later, Good Counsel (4-1, 3-0) dispatched defending champion St. John's, 25-18, 22-25, 25-13, 25-10.

"This is a great group of kids," Kart said. "The girls had to realize what they wanted, and they decided what they wanted. They assumed their roles and dug deep down and said, 'No more.' "

Good Counsel, WCAC runner-up in 2003, has managed its win streak behind a mix of experience and youth. Despite never having played the position, freshman Brighid Casey has flourished at setter. Against Paul VI, she had 10 aces, 18 digs and 67 assists. A favorite target has been junior outside hitter Jessica Emanuele, who delivered 29 kills against the Panthers. Also in that match, senior hitter Lexi Miller had 12 aces, 12 kills and 8 blocks.

As for Kart, she's managing to juggle both jobs with the help of her fellow WCAC junior varsity coaches, who have pushed back the start of their games with Good Counsel so Kart can make them, and Good Counsel parents, who have volunteered to ride the bus to games with the junior varsity players. Part-time assistant Jerry Mikesell, whose daughter played at Good Counsel, has assumed more responsibilities.

"We are such a tight group, and that really helps," Kart said. "We're a team, team. Everybody is working together to keep things going."

Rising Quince Orchard

The Quince Orchard field hockey team needed some reassurance after last year's 11-5-1 season. The record wasn't horrible, but for a program with two state final appearances in the previous three seasons, it was below par.

A 1-0 win over reigning 3A champion Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the Sept. 6 season opener provided Quince Orchard with the reassurance it needed. The eighth-ranked Cougars (6-1) have since outscored opponents 26-5, with their lone loss coming to No. 7 South River on Sept. 10

"As a general rule our games with B-CC have always been pretty good games, but the kids needed that sense of self-worth" Coach Jenna Ries said. "I think you need those victories to get to the top."

Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Flickinger has four shutouts and junior Emily Ellenberger has a team-high nine goals, which already puts her in position to challenge the school's single-season scoring record of 17.

Balanced Magruder

It's not easy for Magruder Coach Scott Alexander to pick out one player who grabs opponents' attention. That's why the Colonels have championship goals this season.

Ten players have scored, including eight with at least two tallies apiece, as Magruder has won its first six games by a combined 24-1 heading into tomorrow's boys' soccer match at Churchill.

While two honorable mention All-Met seniors, goalkeeper Freddy Merkel and defender Mark Eisinger, have been mainstays in the lineup for four years, junior forward Scott Phinith has emerged as Magruder's top scoring threat. He has scored seven goals, including four game-winners for the Colonels.

Staff writer Alan Goldenbach contributed to this report

Honorable mention All-Met defender Mark Eisinger and Magruder have won their first six games by a combined 24-1 heading into tomorrow's match.