Pan­thers, Ea­gles likely to meet in post­sea­son once again

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

Few things are more cer­tain than a play­off meet­ing be­tween the Bo­hemia Manor and Per­ryville volleyball teams.

The Ea­gles host Kent County at 6 p.m. Mon­day in the 1A East Re­gion Sec­tion I Semi­fi­nals, a re­match of a post­sea­son game they won last sea­son.

Bo Manor (12-3) lost its sea­son opener 3-1 to Per­ryville, but won its next 10 games.

“We have a re­ally bal­anced ro­ta­tion,” Ea­gles coach Sab­rina Larmer said of her team. “I think there’s some key play­ers in some key po­si­tions — hav­ing that of­fen­sive fire­power and a good de­fen­sive spe­cial­ists and our libero — that’s re­ally been help­ing a lot.”

If the Ea­gles get past Kent County, a re­match with Per­ryville (142) awaits. The ri­vals seem to meet in the post­sea­son an­nu­ally, but Larmer hopes to change the tra­di­tion of the out­comes.

“When the pat­tern has re­peated that we play them in play­offs — this is my fifth year coach­ing and we’ve seen them for five years — it’s def­i­nitely hard not to look ahead to them,” she said. “We def­i­nitely take play­offs one game at a time, but it’s al­ways in the back of my mind that the road to states goes through Per­ryville. We play and we prac­tice and re­ally work on our strat­egy, how can we make this year dif­fer­ent?

“It’s def­i­nitely a dif­fer­ent team, even though we have a bunch of re­turn­ing play­ers, the feel and the vibe of our whole sea­son has been much dif­fer­ent than any of our pre­vi­ous sea­sons.”

Pan­thers coach Matt Bor­relli ex­pects the re­match.

“I fully ex­pect Bo Manor to win,” he said. “Year af­ter year, Bo Manor is the best team in the re­gion that we have to play against. I’m fully pre­par­ing to see Bo Manor on Wed­nes­day.”

Per­ryville is look­ing for a sixth­straight trip to the 1A state semi­fi­nals. Three of those years, the Pan­thers have reached the fi­nal, but have yet to cap­ture the state crown.

Bor­relli feels his team, led by a core of se­niors, has the best chance to yet.

“The core of our team has been play­ing to­gether on var­sity now for their third straight year. That just makes things eas­ier for me as a coach be­cause they have that con­ti­nu­ity and have that re­la­tion­ship and that rap­port out on the court. That def­i­nitely helps go­ing in, they’re all com­fort­able play­ing with each other and they’ve won pres­sure-packed games to­gether be­fore,” he said. “It’s awe­some be­cause the girls know what to ex­pect from the pres­sure of be­ing in a play­off game. I think be­cause we’ve had a lot of suc­cess in the play­offs the past cou­ple of years — we don’t take it for granted — but we un­der­stand what’s at stake. I think they’re able to play with more con­fi­dence be­cause they’ve been in that sit­u­a­tion be­fore.”

Though the Ea­gles and Pan­thers have seen each other once this sea­son, nei­ther coach is putting too much stock into the first matchup.

“I haven’t been able to see Per­ryville play too much this sea­son af­ter we played them, but I know that they’re still a strong team and they’re well coached so they’ve def­i­nitely im­proved over the sea­son, no doubt about that,” Larmer said. “We’ve def­i­nitely changed, too, over the sea­son. We’ve grown of­fen­sively and men­tally through our sea­son. We faced some ad­ver­sity with in­juries and I feel like it’s re­ally tough­ened us up and bal­anced us out a lit­tle bit.” Bor­relli agreed. “Our team has changed a lot since then. I’m sure they’ve changed and im­proved a lot since then, too,” he said. “I’m not putting too much merit into how that game went be­cause that was two months ago and both of our teams are very, very dif­fer­ent, I’m sure both of our teams are bet­ter than we were back then.

“I know they gave a re­ally good set­ter, they have two great hit­ters, and they have a great coach, so they’re go­ing to be pre­pared. It should be a good game, it al­ways is.”

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GRO­GAN

Gabby Good­now leads an ex­pe­ri­enced Per­ryville team into the 1A volleyball play­offs.

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