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Patriots jump on Eagles for West final spot

November 11, 1999|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

FREDERICK, Md. - The Seneca Valley volleyball team made just one mistake. It won game three.

That was all it took awaken the sleeping giant, as Thomas Johnson increased its intensity and cruised to a 15-8, 15-8, 10-15, 15-1 victory in the Class 3A West Region semifinals Wednesday night.

It wasn't until Game 4 that the real Patriots took the floor.

"In Game 3, we didn't pass very well," said TJ coach Jim Dorsch. "All year long I've been telling the girls that passing is critical for us. We have some experienced setters and strong hitters, all we need is a good passing game."

The Pats' strength at the net was prominently displayed in the final game, as six kills - from four different players - and five aces didn't give the Screaming Eagles (7-10) a chance to make many mistakes.

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"(We) were excellent tonight," said Seneca Valley coach Sue McPherson. "We fell apart a little in the last game with our passes, but I'm real proud of the way we played."

Aside from the fact that TJ has been to the state finals three of the last four years, McPherson knew little about the Pats, and felt like that may have worked to her advantage.

"That was a little better for us," McPherson said. "All we heard was that (TJ) had some tremendous hitters. We knew we'd have to work hard, and I think we did."

Game 1 appeared to be over early, with TJ rolling to a 14-4 lead, only to watch the Eagles claw their way back to 14-8 before a Michelle Dorsch service point iced it for the Patriots.

Jen Wilson provided the spark for TJ in the second game, serving the first seven points of the game, and pounding out three kills to propel the Pats to a 13-5 lead. But again, Seneca Valley rebounded with three points before an ace from Wilson and an Angela Sintes kill gave TJ a 2-0 edge.

"We let them come back, but I didn't feel like they would be able to come all the way back," said Jim Dorsch. "But letting them come back may be the reason for what happened in Game 3."

The Patriots advance to play at Liberty in the region final at 7 Friday. Liberty, which ousted North Hagerstown in the quarterfinals, surprised South Carroll in the other semifinal.

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