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Wildcats' coach is resigned to long stay

November 17, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Now that Williamsport's volleyball team has won the Maryland Class 1A state title, is coach Emily Crabtree ready to hand in her resignation?

"Somebody asked me if I win a state title, am I going to stick with tradition and quit," Crabtree said Saturday afternoon after the Wildcats defeated Poolesville 25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12 at Ritchie Coliseum on the campus of the University of Maryland.

Crabtree coached Williamsport for three seasons from 1993-95, guiding the Wildcats to a state title in '95 before resigning for personal reasons.

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After Kristi Gee led Williamsport to the state title last season - the second title for the Wildcats under Gee - she resigned for her own personal reasons.

Those fearing Williamsport will be in the market for another coach can relax.

"I told them I'm staying until I turn gray," Crabtree said. "This is a great bunch of girls. They're feisty, enthusiastic ... there was never a dull moment in practice. We have fun."

Crabtree made an impact on Williamsport seniors Lindsey Plotner, Staci Grabill, Kris Weir, Katie Saufley and Lauren Hammann even before this season. As eighth graders at Springfield Middle, Crabtree was their coach.

"I never thought (back then) I'd see Lindsey leaping that high, taking short balls and blocking like crazy," Crabtree said.

Without question, Crabtree turned in an outstanding coaching job with these Wildcats. Plotner, a Herald-Mail All-Area selection last year, was a known quantity, but there were question marks elsewhere.

Those question marks turned into loud exclamation points.

Weir developed into a dangerous middle hitter to fill the gap when Plotner was on the back row.

Grabill fit perfectly into the shoes of departed All-Area setter Denise Sullivan.

Sophomore Sammi Snodderly came on toward the end of the season, and her future is certainly bright.

Saufley was a steadying influence on defense, and Hammann and junior Beth Ryan both made contributions in key matches.

"It was a case all season long where if someone was having an off-night, somebody else picked up the slack," Crabtree said. "We were never keying on just one player."

The balance Crabtree skillfully developed was the key to Williamsport's 19-match winning streak, culminating in the school's 10th state title - tied with Centennial for the most in the state.

"My first year back, I'm glad I won the title," Crabtree said. "I'm going to be expected to keep getting here, but I enjoy the challenge."

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