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Hawks want out of pool

November 23, 1998|By JACK HILL III

The Hagerstown Community College Hawks' volleyball team hopes that history does not repeat itself at the NJCAA volleyball tournament.

In eight previous trips to the nationals, Hagerstown has failed to make it out of pool play.

The Hawks will be trying to change that this year in their ninth national tournament in the last 10 years. It's their fifth straight appearance.

"This tournament is going to be tough as usual," Hagerstown coach Marlys Palmer said. "Historically, we have not gotten out of pool play. But we have done pretty well during a few of these years. We have won at least one match during six of the eight previous times that we have been out there. Quite a few teams have some tall, foreign players. Several times in the past, we have been at a big height disadvantage."

The NJCAA tournament will be held at Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah, starting today and running through Wednesday.

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Hagerstown is the No. 13 seed in the tournament.

There will be four pools of four teams each. A team has to win two out of three matches to get out of pool play. There will be three games in each match.

The Hawks will open against fourth-seeded Glendale, Ariz., today at 2 p.m. After that, the Hawks take on Belleville, Ill., at 5. The Hawks' final match in its pool is Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. against Vernon, Texas.

"First, I feel fortunate to have the team qualify," Palmer said. "I feel that the players are excited about going out, and they are looking forward to doing their best. When you're playing a bigger team, they have got a size advantage. So to counteract that, you have got to serve well and you have got to play defense, so they would have a tough time setting up their attack."

Earlier this year, Hagerstown (28-10 overall, 10-1 conference) had its string of nine straight regular-season championships in the Maryland JUCO Conference snapped by Catonsville. But Hagerstown got revenge by defeating Catonsville in the championship match of the Region XX Tournament.

It was the fifth straight Region XX Tournament title for the Hawks and their ninth title in the last 10 years.

"I think that winning the Region XX Tournament was a tremendous accomplishment because we struggled for most of the season," Palmer said.

"We didn't put it together until when it counted. The players are the ones who did it; so it is hats off to them. We have six girls who played out there in the national tournament last year. That is the only place where we might have an advantage."

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