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An unexpected bonus

Greencastle-Antrim makes a run at Martinsburg Invitational title, but falls short in final to Parkersburg.

Greencastle-Antrim makes a run at Martinsburg Invitational title, but falls short in final to Parkersburg.

October 21, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Greencastle-Antrim volleyball coach Vicki Ritchey didn't seem to mind her team's 15-8, 15-6 loss to Parkersburg in the championship match of the Martinsburg Invitational on Saturday.

After watching her team split a pair of games with Hedgesville (No. 3 Herald-Mail poll), then rally to upset No. 1 seed Parkersburg South in the semifinals, Ritchey was nothing but smiles as she told her team there was "no shame" losing in the final.

"We came in thinking anything we did in this tournament was a bonus to our season," Ritchey said. "We wanted to walk out feeling good about the way we played, and we did."

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Especially in the semifinal.

Parkersburg South, which went undefeated in its pool to earn the No. 1 seed, won Game 1, 15-10. Undaunted, the Blue Devils (13-9) got their serving game going. Jessica Ritchey and Aindee Eshleman had six service points each as Greencastle rallied for a 15-13 victory in Game 2, then won the tiebreaker - a rally-style Game 3 - 15-12 to advance to the final.

"They just did a phenomenal job," Ritchey said. "What's typical of us this season is we get down and we can't seem to recover. I'm proud of them, they recovered, stayed determined and focused, and came back."

Playing its third straight match with little rest in between, Greencastle had little left against Parkersburg.

"Time and fatigue were against us," Ritchey said. "It was a really long day."

Parkersburg slipped past Hedgesville in the other semifinal match - the closest of the day. The Eagles (25-4) won Game 1, 15-11, and had a match point in Game 2. But Parkersburg fought it off and came back to win the game, 16-14, then won Game 3, 15-11.

"Parkersburg is a good team, and we're not used to being in those pressure situations," Hedgesville coach Susan Davis said. "You look at our season, and we go to tournaments and see tough competition we don't always see all the time. (Parkersburg's) in a tough region, and they're used to it. ... We just didn't win the points we needed to win."

Parkersburg knocked off Jefferson (9-5) - the only other area team to advance from pool play - 15-11, 15-5 in the quarterfinals. Martinsburg, Berkeley Springs, Musselman and St. Maria Goretti were eliminated in pool play.

Greencastle's Kathy Kershner (37 service points, six kills, 19 blocks and 63 digs) and Hedgesville's Keri Jackson (12 kills, four blocks in quarters and semis) and Ashley Copenhaver (16 kills, five blocks in quarters and semis) were named to the All-Tournament team.

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