After failing to defend their title last year and then learning their coach would not be returning, Elizabeth Seton senior volleyball players Brittany Hayes and Alexandra Philbrick waged a campaign to convince former coach Terri Kerley to return. After all, Kerley had directed the Roadrunners to the 2003 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title when Hayes and Philbrick were sophomores.

So as a gesture of gratitude, Hayes and Philbrick sparked Elizabeth Seton (17-5) to its second championship in three years with a 15-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-19, 15-9 victory over top seed Good Counsel yesterday at St. John's. The Roadrunners overcame a sluggish start and outlasted Good Counsel (21-3) with stellar ball control and defense that eventually neutralized an impressive Falcons offensive attack, led by WCAC player of the year Jessica Emanuele.

Trailing 2-1, the Roadrunners simply kept the ball in play long enough to generate their own offense or lure the Falcons into committing errors.

"We have a lot more ball control," said Philbrick, who finished with 18 kills, 3 blocks and 12 digs. "It's not all about hitting and power, which is exciting to watch."

"I told them you have to leave it all out there," Kerley said. "We condition to the point where our goal is to get every ball back."

"We knew we could still win this," said Hayes, who finished with 27 kills, 12 blocks and 12 digs.

Bruce's Goal Is the One

St. Mary's-Annapolis senior midfielder Pete Bruce scored with 11 seconds left in the first half in a 1-0 victory over Friends School in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game last night at UMBC in Catonsville.

Bruce chased down a shot by senior midfielder Joel Bidnick that was deflected by the goalkeeper and headed out of bounds. Just before it crossed the end line, Bruce connected with his right foot and curved the ball into the far corner of the goal. The Saints (13-3) won their first conference title since 1997 and third overall. . . .

Chapelgate Christian defeated Beth Tfiloh Community School, 1-0, for the MIAA C Conference title.

Sophomore forward Jim Becker scored on a header off a pass from senior defender Corey Whitehead to give the Yellowjackets (10-1-1) their second title in four seasons.

McLaren to U-Conn.

Good Counsel All-Met senior forward Kaili McLaren, who led the Falcons to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and City Title basketball championships in 2004-05, has orally committed to play next season for the University of Connecticut.

The 6-foot-3 McLaren averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game last season and will become the first area player to sign with the five-time NCAA women's champion Huskies since Amy Duran of Stone Ridge in 1995.