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Sweep Revenge

No. 2 Williamsport moves into MVAL lead, retaliating with a sweep of No.1 Smithsburg.

No. 2 Williamsport moves into MVAL lead, retaliating with a sweep of No.1 Smithsburg.

October 11, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - In 75 minutes Thursday night, No. 2 Williamsport put aside a three-game loss to No. 1 Smithsburg 10 days ago and put itself in position for the Monocacy Valley Athletic League championship.

Meggie Miller had 26 kills and nine service points as the Wildcats swept the Leopards 15-8, 15-10, 15-13, raising all facets of their game several notches from when they first played.

"We came in here knowing we lost the last time, and we needed to come in and play our game," Miller said.

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"We played 10 times better than the first game," Lindsey Plotner, who had eight kills and five blocks alongside Miller, added. "We executed so much better than last time."

With the win, Williamsport (9-1, 6-0) is in control of the MVAL. The Wildcats have Catoctin, Francis Scott Key and Boonsboro left in conference play, and three victories would give them the title.

"The girls and I talked (Wednesday) in practice how big it is to get the MVAL title," Wildcats coach Kristi Gee said. "We can't say we've got it yet ... but getting past Smithsburg was definetly one big hurdle."

In the first meeting at Smithsburg on Sept. 30, the Leopards (8-1, 5-1) won a close Game 1, then rode momentum to a three-game sweep as the Wildcats' passing faltered.

This time, Williamsport overcame early Smithsburg leads in Games 1 and 2 by staying active on defense and passing the ball with accuracy to setters Denise Sullivan (21 assists) and Staci Grabill (19 assists), who set up Miller and Plotner for attacks throughout the match.

"Our passing game is a very big part of our game," Plotner said. "If you can't pass, you can't play the game."

"Last time, we were giving them free ball after free ball, and they could set up their offense," Gee said. "Tonight we played defense, got our passing game going and made them play defense."

Smithsburg opened up a 7-2 lead in Game 1, then scored only once on its next three possessions as Williamsport rallied. Katie Saufley served three points to cut the lead to 7-5, two service points from Plotner cut the lead to one, 8-7, and Grabill's four service points gave the Wildcats an 11-8 lead. Miller closed the game with four service points - twoof them aces.

The Leopards took a 9-5 lead in Game 2, then faded again, scoring on just one of their next eight possessions, with two service errors. Plotner's block of a poor Smithsburg pass finished off the game and gave Williamsport a two-game lead.

"Normally in most games, we have excellent serving," Smithsburg coach Alexa Robertson said. "Our serve let us down tonight, and that's what hurt us most."

Game 3 was close throughout, with both teams taking brief leads on the way to a 13-13 tie. Grabill's first kill of the match gave the Wildcats a 14-13 lead.

After Laura Lindsay's kill gave the Leopards the ball, Jenna Warrenfeltz's serve went long by a matter of inches, giving Williamsport the serve back. Grabill's second kill ended the match as the Wildcats' fans - a high-energy bunch all night - erupted one final time.

"Volleyball is definitely a game of momentum," Gee said. "Getting the crowd involved was a big help. Once that gets going, the girls feed off that."

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