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North sweeps into 3A playoffs

November 03, 1999

By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Photo by JOE CROCETTA / Staff Photographer

Two large banners hang from the wall in the North Hagerstown gymnasium proclaiming the Hubs' volleyball team as State Finalists in each of the last two seasons, and serving as a constant reminder of the tradition the 1999 edition is trying to uphold.

cont. from sports page

If Wednesday night is any indication, the sixth-ranked Hubs are primed to claim another banner as they move up to Class 3A, as Nicole Boyer and Nicole Morgan spearheaded a 15-4, 15-9, 15-12 sweep over Middletown in Monocacy Valley Athletic League play.

Many of Morgan's 45 assists went to Boyer, who finished with a personal-best 17 kills, including five in the first game, and three more in North's five-point rally to clinch Game 3.

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"I don't think (coming to me) was part of the game plan," said Boyer. "We really don't have a game plan, we just make it up as we go along. But this is our last game before the playoffs, and we were really trying to get it done."

"The last three games (Boyer) has been very, very consistent," said North coach Jamie Pryor, "and that's a tremendous asset to the team. It spreads out our offense, and when she's on, it gives us a lot more options."

According to Pryor, Middletown (9-5, 4-4) was the perfect foe for the Hubs (11-3, 6-2) entering the postseason. The Hubs, who have dominated western Maryland in Class 2A for the past two seasons, play Kennedy at home in their 3A West opener at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

"It was good for us to play against a team with big blockers," said Pryor. "That's one of the things we had to work on, hitting around the block."

Boyer and company appeared to have learned quickly, scoring on cross-court shots and dinks, keeping the Knights off balance.

But the Hubs weren't the only problem facing Middletown. Fatigue was likely a factor, with the Knights coming off a long weekend.

"We had the (Frederick) County Tournament Saturday, and ended up playing for about 12 hours," said Middletown coach Jason Norris. "Monday and Tuesday we had no energy at all, and tonight we had a little more energy, but we were still lethargic."

After being routed in the first game, the Knights scored six straight points to open Game 2, only to watch the Hubs reel off 14 of the next 15 points behind the net play of Boyer and Lauren Anderson.

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