Leopards, 'Cats set for Round 2

October 10, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

When No. 1 Smithsburg defeated No. 2 Williamsport 10 days ago, bragging rights (and the top spot in the Herald-Mail poll) were the only thing at stake.

Tonight, the Monocacy Valley Athletic League championship will likely be decided as the Leopards and Wildcats renew acquaintances at Williamsport.

"We're fully aware the first time was like a practice round, and this is time that counts," Smithsburg coach Alexa Robertson said. "We are as prepared as we can be."

"Assuming we win the rest of our matches, this is what will determine the MVAL championship," Williamsport coach Kristi Gee said. "That's something that motivates us, bringing the title back to Williamsport."


The Leopards (8-0, 5-0) gained confidence as the first matchup progressed, taking a tight Game 1 16-14, then turning it up a notch in Game 2 (15-10) and yet another notch in Game 3 (15-6) for a surprising sweep of the Wildcats (8-1, 5-0).

But Robertson says her team is far from overconfident heading into the rematch.

"I think they're aware Williamsport is not a team that's just gonna show up not ready to play," Robertson said. "They're gonna be coming at us because they lost. We know we have go into game full force, just like last time."

After injuries forced Williamsport to play Staci Grabill and Kristen Weir away from their normal positions in the first match (Grabill on defense instead of setter, Weir as outside hitter instead of middle hitter), both will return to their regular spots tonight.

For Williamsport to gain a measure of revenge on the Leopards, the Wildcats will have to reduce their mistakes and counter Smithsburg's runs with their own.

"We made a lot of mental errors the first match, and that's something I've focused on with the girls," Gee said. "Volleyball is such a game of momentum, you have to stay focused for every point. Having our own fans in our own gym helps in that aspect."

Trojans make statement

No. 8 Chambersburg rallied from down a game at Carlisle - ranked No. 10 in Pa. - to upset the Thundering Herd 8-15, 15-13, 15-10 on Tuesday.

"They beat us in Chambersburg 15-13, 15-10 (on Sept. 12), and we turned around and played them (Sept. 14) in a tournament and split with them in pool play," Trojans coach Ty Frelin said. "That gave our girls a lot of confidence, knowing we can do this."

Heather Ranck had 14 kills and eight service points as the catalyst for the Trojans' comeback. Kacee Lawver added seven service points in Game 3 as Chambersburg climbed out of a 5-1 hole to win the game and the match.

After starting the season 2-2, Chambersburg has won seven of its last eight non-tournament matches.

"I said at beginning of year, if we could hold things together the first month, things would come together," Frelin said. "We're very young, but so far we're progressing and we're right on schedule."

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