Volleyball notes - Home-carpet advantage works well for Grace

October 19, 2000

Volleyball notes - Home-carpet advantage works well for Grace

Upon walking into the main room of the Tri-State Fellowship Church for a Grace Academy volleyball game, several things hit you at once - the gray carpet floor, the chairs that line the sides of the court instead of the typical wooden bleachers, and the use of a manual scoreboard, just to name a few.

It's a home away from home for the No. 7 Lady Knights, and - at least until Grace's new gym is completed - coach Lisa Hill and her players are comfortable with the surroundings, even if their opponents are not.

"We've been playing here the last several years," Hill said. "We're used to playing on this floor, and not many other teams are used to the conditions."

There aren't many teams used to playing the caliber of game the Lady Knights provide, either.

In 13 non-tournament matches, Grace is 13-0 and the only undefeated team left in Washington County. Saturday's victory over Cumberland Valley Christian School - which had taken eight of 10 games against the Lady Knights in tournament play - gave Grace the upper hand in the race for the Mason Dixon Christian Conference regular-season title.


"We were the only team left in the county that was undefeated," Grace setter Heather Kendall said. "We were telling each other, 'We can't lose.'"

Now, the Lady Knights' biggest challenge lies in earning recognition among the elite of the county volleyball scene - namely, No. 2 Smithsburg and No. 3 Williamsport.

"They work just as hard, they desire to win just as hard," Hill said. "Whenever we prepare to go to the North High tourney or any tourney, we want to show that even small schools who don't have 100 kids can still work on developing programs and having fun."

As anyone who watched Grace's victory celebration Saturday against the Blazers, the Lady Knights are having plenty of fun this season.

Draw it up

The MPSSAA draw for volleyball will be on Oct. 30 and, like the basketball draws last season, the top-four teams in each region will be seeded based on records. The most interesting region may be Class 1A South, where No. 2 Smithsburg and No. 3 Williamsport both reside.

It makes for an odd - and disappointing - situation, considering the West regional only has five teams after the schools in Mt. Savage and Flintstone shut down before this season. The MPSSAA will redraw its map for the 2001 season.

In Class 3A West, No. 9 Thomas Johnson seems headed for the top seed behind its 10-1 record. The Patriots have already swept the season series against region and conference rivals Liberty and South Carroll.

Pennsylvania predicament

A third class has been added to the PIAA state tournament, meaning more matches will be held before the state finals next month at Heiges Field House at Shippensburg University.

Before, 16 teams in two classes played at Heiges, with pool play deciding the final eight and final four in each class. Now, with more matches possible, only the final eight in each class will make the roadtrip.

The sweet 16 will play regional first-round matches in a best-of-5 series instead of the usual best-of-3 makeup. The winners advance to the state tournament Nov. 9-10.

In Class AAA, District 3 will still receive three spots in the final 16. Because of the earlier change in format, the district tournament is also different. The first round is now pool play with four teams - including one pool at Waynesboro, where the Mid Penn champion (likely No. 1 Chambersburg) will play on Oct. 30.

This week's notebook was compiled by staff writers Dan Spears and Dan Kauffman.

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