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Patriots knock off Leopards

September 21, 2004|by CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG - Don't expect the Thomas Johnson volleyball team to be calling Allstate anytime soon. The Patriots expect to be in good hands for the next several years.

Sophomore Bethany Springer - who leads the team in kills - led the team in virtually every category Monday night in the Patriots' 21-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 victory over No. 8 Smithsburg.

"Bethany led the team in kills, blocks and serve assists and she probably had half our service points, too," TJ coach Jim Dorsch said.

After the Leopards claimed the first game, it was Springer who reversed the momentum in Game 2 with six straight service points, including three aces, to stake the Pats to a 9-3 advantage.

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"I told the girls we needed to come back (in Game 2)," said Dorsch. "We weren't serving tough in the first game. We were serving lollipops."

Six straight service points from both Cassie Zaleski and Lauren Morrow handed TJ a 23-12 lead in Game 3. But the Leopards responded with a 12-1 run behind Kim Sullivan, who contributed two kills and six service points in the spree, only to drop the game.

The fourth game was a carbon copy of the third, with Smithsburg rallying to tie the score at 22-22, only to watch it slip away.

"Tonight was a learning experience for us," said Smithsburg coach Rachel Bachtell. "We learned that we have a lot of heart for coming back in the last two games, and we need to learn how to finish games. We could have rolled over and died, but we fought back. (TJ) just made fewer mistakes, and did a better job of mixing up their shots. We have to learn to do that."

Springer finished the game with eight blocks, eight aces, seven kills, five digs and 18 service points. Kenzie Bowen sparked the Leopards with 17 digs, seven kills and 20 service points.

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