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TJ aced out in semis

November 17, 1999|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

ESSEX, Md. - For three of the last four years, the Thomas Johnson volleyball team has played the bridesmaid, advancing to the championship round only to come up empty. This season, the Patriots aren't even invited to the wedding, and they have Shannon Patrick to thank for it.

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Patrick's 25 kills and nine aces propelled River Hill to a 15-5, 11-15, 13-15, 15-3, 15-4 victory in the Maryland Class 3A semifinals Wednesday night at Essex Community College.

"It's very disappointing," TJ coach Jim Dorsch said. "This group of girls has been together for several years. It's disappointing we didn't do what we had to do to win."

The Patriots had several opportunities to win in game 4, but River Hill didn't allow TJ the ability to put together any type of run. Until Patrick stepped to the service line for the second time, the Patriots had done the same.

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With the Hawks leading 4-3, Patrick rifled six aces and served the game's final 11 points to tie the match at two games apiece and clearly establish control for River Hill.

The Hawks continued the roll in game 5, taking a 7-0 advantage with five aces, including three from Lisa Humphrey.

"It all comes back to what I said yesterday," said Dorsch. "If we can pass, we'll be all right. In the last two games, we didn't get the ball to the setter, we lost the attack and that was the game. It's not that their serves were that great, it's that we didn't adjust to what they were serving."

The other problems: TJ (17-2) was unable to get more than one point per rotation in the last two games and never came up with a way to stop Patrick at the net.

"We didn't block her," Dorsch said. "That was the difference."

Patrick was also a nemesis from the service line. Her five straight points in game 1 gave the Hawks an 11-5 lead and started a run of nine unanswered points.

Trailing 8-5 in game 2, Kellyanne Rose responded with eight straight points behind three Jen Wilson kills, and two from Emily Hauver. Rose served the final point to tie the match, 1-1.

After jumping out to a 12-7 lead in game 3, TJ watched the Hawks reel off six straight points for a 13-12 advantage. But a pair of Rose aces and a Michelle Dorsch kill secured the game before River Hill regained control.

"When this team walked into the gym in August of 1996, this was their goal," said Hawks coach Sybil Modispacher said. "I feel like I'm just along for the ride. They've done it all. It's an amazing bunch of kids."

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