Nerves send Hubs home

November 14, 1996



Staff Correspondent

ESSEX, Md. - The best North Hagerstown could do Wednesday night was display occasional flashes of solid volleyball.

And that wasn't nearly enough to overcome a case of the jitters and a scrappy North East-Cecil team, which eliminated the Hubs in the Maryland Class 2A state semifinals with a 15-8, 12-15, 15-3, 15-12 victory at Essex Community College.

"We seemed scared to death," North Hagerstown coach Tracy McKinsey said. "We had players that panicked tonight."

The win keeps North East's record unblemished at 18-0 and carries the Cecil County team into Saturday's finals at Catonsville Community College. The Indians face Atholton, which defeated North Caroline in the other semifinal.


After taking a 1-0 lead in the first game, the Hubs failed to return the next five serves, and eventually trailed 10-3. Amanda Cunningham closed the gap to 10-8 with five straight service points. Megan McBurney added two kills in the rally. But five straight points from Brittany DiPietro secured the win for North East.

The Hubs (11-7) played solidly enough to win the second game, but had to rebound from a 10-4 deficit. Velvet Davis served eight straight points, and North outscored the Indians, 11-2, behind five Kristen Sherwood kills to knot things at one game apiece.

"We just couldn't get it together and keep it together," said McKinsey. "There were spurts when we looked good, but there were more spurts when we looked bad. I blame a lot of it on nerves. (The girls) were scared. I could see it on their faces."

Serving deserted the Hubs in the third game. Five straight serves resulted in side-outs, allowing North East to score 10 unanswered points for the easy win.

North's power game forged a 10-3 advantage to open the fourth game, but the Indians came back, taking advantage of numerous errors to trim the margin to 12-7.

With the pressure mounting, the Hubs' defense collapsed in the middle, and North East began hitting successfully toward the wide-open sidelines.

Mindy Fortune served five straight points for the Indians to tie the game at 12-12. Christy Mann put it away with three straight points.

"(North East) just kept the ball in play consistently, and let us make the mistakes," McKinsey said. "And that's exactly what we did.

"Our passing was off, our hitting was off, and our setting was off. We had some bright spots, but we didn't keep it consistent enough."

Sherwood's 13 kills led North. Erica Datillio added 13 assists. Velvet Davis had 13 service points.

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