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Smithsburg (sort of) passes opening test

September 07, 2000

Smithsburg (sort of) passes opening test



By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent


To hear Jim Klein talk, one might reasonably think his Smithsburg volleyball team was dominated in the Thursday night's season opener.

Apparently Klein expects a great deal more despite the No. 2 Leopards' 15-8, 15-10, 15-13 sweep of No. 3 North Hagerstown in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

"We passed off our heels, and we didn't serve as consistently tough as we're capable of serving," said Klein. "That slowed us down in certain areas where we need to be precise. Our offense is predicated upon speed and accuracy, and that becomes extremely important with passing."

Smithsburg's offense was indeed slow getting started. The Hubs rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to forge a 5-2 advantage before the Leopards used five unforced North errors for a 9-1 run. Lauren Richards finally registered Smithsburg's first kill for a point late in that run before two more unforced errors, and kills from Michelle Feiser and Heather Ashley, gave the Leopards the Game 1 win.

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Eight straight service points by B.J. Greenwood kept the pressure on the Hubs, allowing Smithsburg a 10-3 lead in the second game. But North, behind a pair of Katie Stamper kills and six consecutive Lauren Anderson service points, closed the gap to 10-9. Feiser, however, responded with two kills and three service points to secure the win.

"We had our ups and downs tonight," said North coach Jamie Pryor. "We looked really lethargic in the second game. We needed somebody to step up, and nobody did."

Opening night mistakes cost the Hubs dearly in a third game that saw six lead changes. Tied at 13-13, a Jennifer Holden ace appeared to put North in the driver's seat. Instead, the Hubs were called for an illegal substitution, and the point was disallowed. Another unforced North error gave a Leopards a one-point lead before turning the serve back over to the Hubs. Five serves later, with Smithsburg still clinging to its 14-13 lead, North was cited for a second illegal substitution. This time, however, Smithsburg made them pay as Feiser served the game-winner.

"(The illegal substitutions) happened at the worst possible time," said Pryor. "We were coming back."

Feiser's 10 kills paced the Leopards, with Heather Ashley and Powell adding nine apiece, while Janelle Stouffer finished with 31 assists for Smithsburg.

Stamper sparked North with nine kills, while Nicole Morgan contributed 15 assists and two aces.

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