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No. 1 Spartans stay unbeaten

October 13, 1998

McConnellsburg vs. WaynesboroBy MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - Visiting Waynesboro went right after undefeated and top-ranked McConnellsburg on Monday night.

The Indians, 9-3 and ranked ninth, took a quick 3-0 lead in the first game.

But the Lady Spartans showed why they are No. 1 in the Herald-Mail Top 10 rankings. They reeled off seven straight points, the last five behind the serving of freshman Gina Sipes, and went on to win the match 15-8, 15-12 to remain undefeated at 12-0.

"Gina really did a great job when we needed it," said McConnellsburg coach Greg Hays. "She opened up a separation, and then we were able to use our transition game."

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After the teams traded points, Jenn Benedict served Waynesboro back into the game with three points, including an ace to make it 10-8.

But McConnellsburg's Lory Baker finished the scoring with five consecutive service points behind the net play of Sipes and Lindsey Miller, punching out an ace to end the game. Miller had seven kills and six blocks.

Game 2 began as a mirror image of the first, with the Lady Spartans taking the early lead and Waynesboro recovering with five straight points from Jana Reitz and Amber Small.

McConnellsburg chipped away at the lead until they were tied at six. Then Baker, who played a heads-up match and seemed to always know where the hole in Waynesboro's defense was, stepped to the service line to begin a six-point run.

Baker got two points, the second on a kill by Sipes. After a couple of sideouts, Sipes went to the line and finished the run with four points to put the Lady Spartans up, 12-6.

The Maidens stormed back with five points as senior Libby Hoke took control with three kills and a block to bring Waynesboro within one. But McConnellsburg used superior net play to earn the victory. Renee Baker had five kills and four blocks, and Miller added 10 more blocks.

"I am really happy with the play of Libby Hoke," said Waynesboro coach Jay Heefner. "She's really come a long way."

"I have some great kids, but anytime we play McConnellsburg, this is what happens. They're perfectly under control, and we have to work really hard."

After 35 years of teaching and 20 years of coaching high school and club volleyball, Heefner is retiring.

Prior to the match, Hays surprised Heefner and honored him for his dedication to the sport, citing his many accomplishments.

He gave credit to Heefner for a portion of his own success, and that of others in the area who benefited from his clinics where he shared his knowledge and love of the game.

Russ Hess, president of the local officials chapter in Franklin County and official for the match last night, said, "We have the utmost respect for Jay. He's going to be missed."

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