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The battles for No. 1 - No. 3 Wildcats hand Leopards first loss

October 12, 2000

The battles for No. 1 - No. 3 Wildcats hand Leopards first loss



By DAN SPEARS / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Lauren Richards blocks Katie SpoonireWILLIAMSPORT - The old saying goes that those who don't remember history are condemned to repeat it.

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Thursday night, the Williamsport volleyball team remembered its history against No. 1 Smithsburg. It was not repeated.

The No. 3 Wildcats exploded in the fifth and final game against the Leopards, pulling away for a 10-15, 15-12, 15-13, 10-15, 15-8 victory that gave them the driver's seat in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League title race.

For 11 days, the Wildcats were haunted by their squandered two-game lead against the Leopards in the teams' first meeting this year. Despite losing a lead in Game 4 this time, they erased their demons.

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"I think that only encouraged us," Williamsport middle hitter Danielle Munson said. "We were still working hard and knew we could get this one."

Tied 1-1 after two games, the two teams played a classic Game 3. Williamsport (8-1, 4-0) raced to 8-1 and 10-3 leads, only to see the Leopards (10-1, 5-1) take a 13-11 lead behind 10 kills and four blocks in that game alone by Heather Ashley.

It took almost four complete rotations to decide, and screams from the crowd nearly drowned out the calls from both setters on the court. With Smithsburg leading 12-11, the game's longest - and best - point ended with six players laying on the floor.

"The crowd helped us out so much," Munson said. "They kept us strong at times. It was a huge advantage."

Behind two kills by Katie Spoonire and one from Meggie Miller, the Wildcats took back the lead at 14-13 and Miller served for match point. Another long rally ensued and ended again in dramatic fashion when Munson took off 20 feet from the net and hit a rocket to the back left corner.

"We fought real hard," Smithsburg coach Jim Klein said. "But we made too many mistakes early. When you play a team like Williamsport, you don't have any room to make mistakes like that."

Smithsburg trailed 10-9 in Game 4, then slammed the door with six straight points by Katy Powell to force Game 5.

"We told them Smithsburg was tired and they were tired," Williamsport coach Kristi Gee said. "We said, 'You have to look like this is your first time on the court.' Make them wonder what you did in the huddle to get all that energy."

The Wildcats responded perfectly. Down 1-0 after seven serves, Meghan Foley picked up eight straight points - highlighted two aces, two kills by Spoonire and a rare block from diminutive setter Kristine Porac - that turned it into a rout.

Munson finished with 20 kills and seven blocks, Spoonire had 13 kills and four blocks and Miller had 15 kills for Williamsport. Ashley finished with 27 kills while Michelle Feiser had 27 assists and 11 kills for Smithsburg.

"Of course I did. ... It was like, 'Oh please, not like the last time,'" Gee said. "But from the way we were playing, I didn't think we would fall like the last time. They knew what had happened before. They wouldn't let it happen again."

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