After his team’s victory over top-ranked River Hill Tuesday evening, Centennial High volleyball coach Larry Schofield quickly put things in perspective.

This [Tuesday’s win] is a minor goal right now to get back to where we were when they beat us last year,” said Schofield, whose team is ranked No. 2 in the VSN Metro Top 20. “Counties are a minor goal, districts are a minor goal, regional championship is the big goal and it goes through River Hill again.”

The Eagles may have to go through the Hawks a little sooner than expected. They could meet at the inaugural Gator Invitational at Reservoir Saturday afternoon.

The Howard County powers are part of an eight-team field including county rivals Reservoir and Wilde Lake, No. 16 Severna Park and Francis Scott Key. Good Counsel from the WCAC and southern Maryland stronghold Northern-Calvert rounds the field.

Centennial will play Reservoir, Severna Park and Key in pool play while River Hill has Wilde Lake, Northern-Calvert and Good Counsel, currently ranked No. 2 in the D.C. area by the Washington Post. Northern-Calvert is sixth.

The top two teams from each pool advances to the semifinals.

River Hill coach Lynn Paynter said she wanted to get her into an in-season tournament. The Hawks had participated Bulldog Classic at North Caroline High the last several years, but didn’t this year because of homecoming festivities at the Clarksville school.

Paynter hopes Tuesday’s loss serve as a learning experience for the Hawks. River Hill had a nine-point lead in the fourth game before Centennial rallied to close out a four-set decision.

“We had some breakdown in communication,” said Paynter. “We’ll be better for it next time. We’ll be a better team. It’s not going to be the last time we’ll see Centennial”

Gator Invitational

At Reservoir

Pool A (main gym)

Centernnial vs. F.S. Key, 9 a.m.

Reservoir vs. Severna Park, 10 a.m.

F.S. Key vs. Severna Park (immediately after Reservoir/Severna Park)

Centennial vs. Reservoir (immediately after F.S. Key/Severna Park)

F.S. Key vs. Reservoir (immediately after Centennial/Reservoir)

Centennial vs. Severna Park (immediately after F.S. Key/Reservoir)

Pool B (auxiliary gym)

Good Counsel vs. Northern-Calvert, 9 a.m.

River Hill vs. Wilde Lake, 10 a.m.

Northern-Calvert vs. Wilde Lake (immediately after River Hill/Wilde Lake)

Good Counsel vs. River Hill (immediately after Northern/Wilde Lake)

Northern-Calvert vs. River Hill (immediately after Good Counsel/River Hill)

Good Counsel vs. Wilde Lake (immediately after Northern-Calvert/RiverHill)


1st place Pool A vs. 2nd place Pool B (main gym)

1st place Pool B vs. 2nd place Pool A (auxiliary gym)