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MoCo fans mourn the loss of two local sporting greats

We lost two individuals with deep roots in Montgomery County athletics during the past two months, a former athlete, and an alum and coach.
Eric Nichols, the popular Gaithersburg quarterback who guided the Trojans to their first state championship in 1986, died in August at the age of 48.
Nichols was also the DC Touchdown Club’s Maryland High School Player of the Year in 1986 and led Maryland to a victory over Pennsylvania in the 1987 Big 33 All-Star football game.
Maryland’s 26-22 victory over Pennsylvania at Hersheypark Stadium marked the first time in history that a team from Maryland had beaten Pennsylvania in that game.
“That was one of the baddest quarterbacks I’ve ever seen in this area,” said former Seneca Valley standout Wayne Turner, “[He’s in the] top ten.”

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Magruder boys win first, Blake coeds win second in volleyball double-header

  • Published in Sports

xMagruder vs. Blake Volleyball Double-Header 1Magruder’s Chimere Ukwuani spikes the ball into Blake territory. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

DERWOOD – The Colonel Zadok Magruder varsity boys’ volleyball team (5-0) continued its winning ways with a smashing three-set win over the Blake Bengals boys (2-3), 25-14, 25-18, 25-20, at Magruder High School Friday. In the second game of the evening, the Bengals coed team responded in kind, defeating the Magruder team in three sets.

The stunning play of the Colonels could only be matched by the Bengals a few moments during the match. The easy, convincing win goes a long way in establishing the Colonels as one of the favorites for the County championship.

Colonels head coach Tara Vaglica said, “We’re very relaxed. … I think we’re one of the top teams in the county.”

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Damascus girls fall to Howard in state volleyball finals, 3-1

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DSC 1443 Kaylen Bernota (5) and Sarah Noland (3) get set as teammate Sara Gruber spikes the ball in the 3A Championship  game vs. Atholton. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  

COLLEGE PARK – The Damascus (16-3) varsity volleyball team returned to the 3A state championship game Saturday for the second straight year and, for the second year in a row, the Swarmin’ Hornets hit a wall.

Damascus fans came out in droves to the Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland to cheer on a team that had lost only two games all season.

Yet, the Hornets fell to Howard County’s Atholton (20-5) after winning the first set and then dropping three straight: 25-17, 21-25, 18-25, 22-25.

With the win, the Raiders earn Howard County’s first state title in any sport in eight years. Before Saturday, Atholton hadn’t won a volleyball championship since 1989.

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Northwest sweeps Sherwood for second state title in two years

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20161119 Northwest-8936The Northwest Jaguars defeated the Sherwood Warriors to earn their second state championship title. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

COLLEGE PARK – The defending state champion Northwest varsity volleyball team earned its second state title Saturday after sweeping Sherwood in three sets at Ritchie Coliseum at the University of Maryland. 

The 19-1 Jaguars’ only loss this season came courtesy of the Warriors (20-4) a month ago after a five-game seesaw game.

Jaguars Head Coach Stephanie Blake said the loss motivated her team in the finals.

“They all said that they wanted Sherwood and I said, ‘You guys have to be ready,’” said Blake. “When we lost to Sherwood, they were heartbroken after that. I told them to remember how heartbroken they were then and they went out and showed it.”

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Raptors get a chance to regroup and turn it around before tourney begins

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MCVBRAW-422Montgomery College's Alejandra Borja, seen here diving for the ball, tallied 12 digs when the Raptors played the Rhode Island Knights. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery College volleyball team will have a chance to turnaround its tough season Friday night as the Region XX DIII tournament begins six days after a rough tournament at home.

On Saturday, the Raptors held a 2-0 (25-22, 25-19) lead against the Community College of Rhode Island before the Knights rallied to win the next three sets (25-22, 25-16, 15-9) for the comeback victory.

Wake Technical Community College later shut out the Raptors in three sets (25-13, 25-17, 25-12) to win the MC tournament, having earlier defeated the Eagles 3-1 (25-20, 25-15, 21-25, 25-15).

According to MC Head Coach Tori Kenno, her team “started off really strong” but didn’t play as aggressive down the stretch.

“I think we also just let down some (and) relaxed more,” said Kenno.

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Northwest girls dominate in volleyball shutout against Seneca Valley

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Northwest-Seneca Valley volleyball 9-13-16Northwest juniors Dasha Kurochkina (14) and Mia Fennell (15) leap up to block a shot by Seneca Valley senior Eve Ellis (8) in Germantown at Seneca Valley. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

GERMANTOWN – The Northwest volleyball team may have lost nine seniors to graduation from its first-ever state title team but the Jaguars didn't show any downside to that on the court Tuesday.

The defending 4A state championship squad only needed about one hour to defeat Germantown rival and host Seneca Valley in straight sets, 3-0 (25-4, 25-9, 25-7).

"A lot of them have evolved into better individual players for sure," said Northwest Head Coach Stephanie Blake, now in her eighth year with the team. "So we are trying to build what we had last year with communication, team play and aggression."

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2016 will go down in history as Maryland Gold!

As far as I’m concerned, the 2016 Rio Olympics will go down in history as the Maryland Olympics.

Athletes from the Old Line State dominated the field particularly in the sport of swimming, wrestling and basketball.

Ten athletes with Maryland ties helped the state earn 20 medals this year including 16 gold.

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