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Right on the spot

November 14, 2000

Right on the spot



Leopards cruise past Oakland Mills into 1A state final

By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent


ROSEDALE, Md. - If the Smithsburg volleyball team was like a heavyweight champion - landing jabs and body blows in the early rounds, waiting for the right time to go for the knockout with a flurry of crosses and upper cuts - then Oakland Mills was the obliging challenger that couldn't take a punch.

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The Leopards delivered a barrage of 30 unanswered points Tuesday night to knock out the Scorpions 15-8, 15-4 15-0, in the Maryland Class 1A semifinals and advance to the championship game for the second time in three years.

Rising Sun, which defeated Westmar 3-1 in the other semifinal, will face Smithsburg at 2:30 Saturday at Catonsville Community College.

After falling behind 5-1 early in the first game, the Leopards (17-1) outscored Oakland Mills 44-7 the rest of the way behind the serving of Katy Powell and stinging kills from Heather Ashley, Michelle Feiser and Lauren Richards.

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Powell was instrumental in the Game 2 win, collecting 12 straight service points - including four aces - to rally the Leopards from a 4-3 deficit.

"I was just looking for spots they weren't at," said the Smithsburg sophomore. "Sometimes I didn't even know where it was going, so I can understand why they were having trouble with it."

When her serves weren't dropping in for aces, the Scorpions (13-6) had a difficult time returning the serve, which made it easy for Smithsburg to set up Ashley, Feiser and Richards for the kill.

"I was concerned after I saw them in warm-ups," said Oakland Mills coach Kim Rosado. "They have some very hard hitters, and they put the ball down. We only have a few people in (Howard) county who can do it like they can."

It wasn't just Powell who was on target from the service line. Smithsburg missed just one of 62 service attempts (98.4 percent), with nearly 10 percent of them aces.

Despite falling behind early in the first game, Leopards coach Jim Klein wasn't terribly concerned.

"My only concern was that we weren't going to turn it around soon enough to win the game," said Klein. "But I knew if we could turn it around we could win the match."

"The confidence was definitely there," added Richards. "Once we got down it was good to know we could get back up because we've done it before. We just kept pushing ourselves to go harder and stronger to get back in it."

It was all Smithsburg in the final game, scoring points in bunches and allowing the Scorpions just four service opportunities, as Ashley and Feiser combined for six kills, and Feiser and Powell accounted for 10 service points.

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