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Volleyball team goes after second straight

November 14, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Once again, Williamsport's volleyball team stands one victory away from the Maryland Class 1A state title.

Once again, Poolesville stands in the Wildcats' way.

Riding an 18-match winning streak, Williamsport (18-1) will enter Ritchie Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to defend its title against some very familiar Falcons.

"Our girls are confident," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "They're feeling good and tasting another state championship."

Last year, the trio of Meggie Miller, Denise Sullivan and Lindsey Plotner defeated a young Poolesville squad 15-6, 15-7, 7-15, 15-9 for its first title since 1999.

Miller - currently playing in the NJCAA Division II national tournament for Hagerstown Community College - and Sullivan graduated. However, Plotner returned and Kris Weir, Staci Grabill, Katie Saufley - role players on last year's team - picked up their games this season.

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The emergence of sophomore Sammi Snodderly added more fire to the Wildcats' attack - a multi-faceted one which Poolesville will have difficulty stoping.

"If our passing game is on and we get the ball in the setter's hands, Staci knows what to do with it," Crabtree said. "But that pass has got to be there, and they know that. They know what has to be done, they just have to go out and do it.

"We're not going to do anything different. It's basically the same thing we've been doing al year long. It's been working all year long, hopefully it will be working one more time."

On the other side of the net, Poolesville - which defeated Perryville in the other semifinal - returned the vast majority of its players from last season. The Falcons specialize on the defensive side, using height along the front line and quick, agile back row players to frustrate opponents who can't finish points.

"They were scrappy (in the semifinals)," Crabtree said. "They were all over the floor. (There weren't) too many Perryville kills while we were watching."

On offense, Poolesville has a couple jump-servers which presents a new challenge for Williamsport. Their attack relies on placement more than brute strength.

"They have a really good setter, she places the ball and tips the ball really well," Crabtree said. "They don't hit the ball really hard, they're a finesse team more than a power team. We're going to have to make some adjustments, and hopefully we'll be prepared."

"We're gonna have to play hard to win. It's going to be a good match."

This is Williamsport's third straight apopearance in the state final. In 2001, Smithsburg defeated the Wildcats in a five-game thriller.

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