Volleyball: Bulldog Classic Results
The 23rd annual Bulldog Classic at North Caroline high school on the Eastern Shore Saturday proved there is certainly a great deal of parity in Maryland this year. After winning a single-game playoff to reach the Classic’s tournament as the number six seed, Mount de Sales defeated a pair of teams ranked in The Post’s top 10 and another one that was considered for last week’s rankings en route to the title.
Top-ranked Centennial, last year’s Bulldog winner, fell to the Sailors in the quarterfinals, 2-1 (25-23, 21-25, 15-12). All tournament play was a best-of-three format. Then No. 4 Broadneck lost in the semifinals, 2-0 (24-26, 18-25). Last but not least River Hill, which did not lose a single game all day until the final, succumbed to Mount de Sales, 2-1 (22-25, 25-12, 16-18).
The loss may serve as a wakeup call for Centennial (5-1) as many players experienced their first match defeat. The Eagles, who beat Mount de Sales for the Bulldog title in 2008, have not lost a regular season match since 2007.
“They started playing smarter than us. They found our weak spots on the court and exploited those,” said junior outside hitter Liz Brown. “This doesn’t feel good. While it’s hard coming in and losing in the quarterfinals when we won the tournament last year, Mount de Sales is a really good team. I think a lot of people showed their true colors today and demonstrated how much they did want to win.”
Mount de Sales was able to execute errors in the Eagles' defense, finding soft spots behind their blocks and also tooling off the blocks.
"Our whole defense is a block oriented defense and relies upon moving around behind the block and this match showed that they haven’t all bought into it yet," Coach Larry Schofield said. "Our big hitters traded points and their back row defense was better than ours."
Against Broadneck (3-1), which enters the critical part of its conference schedule this week beginning with a Thursday match against Severna Park, Mount de Sales used some of the same tactics. Finding ways to use the Bruins' block and height advantage against them in Broadneck's first trip to the Bulldog Classic.
"We needed to find ways to cover better," outside hitter Kourtney Salvarola said. "I don't want to say that we can't handle the pressure, but it was definitely in our mind that the teams we were facing were some top notch teams. I think we can learn a lot from this though."
River Hill (7-1) defeated Mount de Sales twice, 25-15, 25-15, in pool play earlier in the day but couldn't overcome the Sailors when they met in the final. Of all the teams at the all-day tournament the Hawks appeared to be the most in sync. Their well-balanced attack combinations of Sarah Okey, Sarah Gordon and Megan Rosburg among others remained fluid.
"We played so well today I'm just really proud of my team the way we all came together," Gordon said. "It's like the Olympics. Everyone remembers who won but all of those other teams are within, what, one-tenth of a second of each other. All of these teams today were so tight and so closely matched it was great."
September 27, 2009; 9:44 PM ET
Categories: Broadneck , Centennial , River Hill , Volleyball
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