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Top-seeded Smithsburg thumps Cougars

November 07, 2000

Top-seeded Smithsburg thumps Cougars



By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent


THURMONT, Md. - For a coach, sometimes just seeing a team in uniform is enough to get the juices flowing.

Just ask Smithsburg volleyball coach Jim Klein.

After playing sparingly in recent weeks, Klein's top-seeded Leopards seemed to pick up where they left off, handily disposing of Catoctin 15-1, 15-1, 15-1, in the Maryland Class 1A South quarterfinals Monday night, moving one step closer to what appears to be an inevitable showdown against county rival Williamsport in the regional final Friday.

"This was only our second match in two weeks," said Klein. "We finally got to go against someone who wears different colors."

Klein was pleased with his club's performance, but the heavily-favored Leopards (14-1, No. 2 Herald-Mail poll) faced a room full of Cougars (4-11) that was obviously not at full strength.

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"We had three girls out with injuries tonight, including our top hitter," said Cougars coach Jason Lininger, "and two girls who just came back from back and neck injuries. It's just been devastating. I knew the girls I had were capable of playing together as a team, but I was concerned - with our win over Forrestville (Friday), and little time to prepare - that they might be a little nervous against a big team."

Smithsburg spotted the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the first game, but didn't trail through the rest of the match, rolling to a 14-0 advantage in Games 2, and a 12-0 margin in the third game.

"We haven't had a game in the past week," said Smithsburg setter Jenelle Stouffer, "and I thought we came out a little slow. But we got the job done, and we got the win. If we win, I'm satisfied."

The Leopards powerful front line, however, didn't get much work. Of Smithsburg's 45 points, 29 came via aces or Catoctin errors. Katy Powell led the way with four aces and 16 service points.

Smithsburg plays fourth-seeded Poolesville at home Wednesday in the region semifinals. The Indians defeated Hancock, 3-1.

"I was just looking for the kids to come out aggressive," said Klein, "and even the mistakes we made - except for one or two - were very aggressive."

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