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Hubs take a licking vs. Knights

October 31, 2002|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - Marc Cree isn't aware of just how prophetic he really is.

The North Hagerstown volleyball coach held a lollipop in his hand as his Hubs were licked 15-5, 7-15, 15-8, 15-9 by Middletown Wednesday night in an effort to secure a third-place finish in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League.

The win in the regular-season finale provides the Knights with sole possession of third place in the MVAL, and a psychological edge over the No. 10 Hubs in the rematch Monday in Maryland's Class 2A West quarterfinal at North Hagerstown.

"We're a really mental team," said Middletown hitter Amber Holian. "Knowing that we can beat them will really help us (in the playoffs)."

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Cree declined comment on the game, stating only that "we have to play them again. I'm not going to talk to the paper tonight."

After winning two of the first three games, Middletown (11-3, 7-2 MVAL) bolted to a 6-0 advantage in Game 4, but allowed North to score nine of the next 10 points for a 9-7 lead. But behind four service points apiece from Allison Jarkey and Ashley Fox - as well as two Jill Martin kills - the Knights rolled to close out the match.

Seven unanswered points in the first game gave the Knights an 11-3 edge before cruising to the win. But North (10-4, 6-3 MVAL) recovered to win Game 2 on the strength of eight straight Ariel Keifer service points, including four aces.

With the third game knotted a one apiece, four Hubs errors and a Fox kills gave Middletown a 6-2 advantage. Four Ashley Haywood service points tied things at eight before the Knights rolled off the next seven points for the win.

"This is the best record a Middletown team has ever had, and this is the best MVAL finish ever," said Knights coach Jamie Pryor. This is a really nice way to cap the season."

While Pryor - who coached the Hubs two years ago - was pleased with the win over her former team, North still had plenty of opportunities to change the outcome. The Knights committed an uncharacteristically high 19 service errors, but the Hubs were unable to capitalize.

"We're usually a very consistent service team, and a very consistent service receive team," said Pryor. "But we were missing one of our better players (Abby Burtner), so we had a little different lineup, and it just took some time."

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