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Block helps Hubs tackle Warriors

October 08, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

When Boonsboro's Jerica Hewett blocked the kill attempt of North Hagerstown freshman Kaitlin Zimmer back into Zimmer's face to knot Game 5 of the teams' MVAL Antietam volleyball showdown at 12-12, Zimmer got mad and even.

Fighting through ankle and wrist injuries, Zimmer put away the next three points and put the No. 6 Hubs ahead of the No. 4 Warriors in the conference race with a pivotal 25-19, 19-25, 24-26, 25-19, 15-12 upset Thursday night.

"That made me mad," Zimmer said of Hewett's well-timed block. "I don't like being blocked. ... I just knew I had to get those points for my team. ... I was ready, my team was ready."

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"She played tough tonight," said Hubs assistant coach Amanda Fleming, filling in for Corry Eagler, who's in Colorado for her sister's wedding this weekend. "She played hurt and played through her injuries.

"I think (we) really wanted this game, and (we) proved it by winning the last two games."

The momentum of the match swung back and forth. North (9-1, 1-0) started fast, taking the first game with a 12-2 closing run which included senior Ariel Kifer's seven straight service points - three coming on aces.

The Warriors (10-1, 1-1) - who won a tournament at Thomas Johnson last weekend, beating last year's Class 2A state champion Liberty and 3A state finalist Mt. Hebron in the process - won seven of the last nine points to put away the second game. Caitlyn Selby (five kills in the game) and Jessie Ambrose (three kills, two assists) led the way, and five North service errors hurt the Hubs.

It only got worse for the Hubs in the third game. North raced out to a 10-2 lead behind Steph Horchner's six straight service points, then let Boonsboro rip off an 11-1 run to get back into it. The game came down to the wire, and tied at 24-24, Lia VanCleave and Selby came up with kills - Selby's clipping the top of the net and falling on North's side - to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead in the match.

Undaunted, the Hubs gained another early lead in the fourth game - this time a 7-1 edge behind Kifer's two kills - and this time held it throughout. Boonsboro cut the deficit to three points twice and two points twice more, but fell short as senior Brooke Ward's kill on game point - her fourth in the game - sent the match to a deciding fifth game.

As was the usual, North seized control of the fifth game from the start. The Hubs never trailed in the game - although Boonsboro tied it up four times - and held leads of 4-1, 8-4 and 11-7 at various points.

"We're the underdog this year, and we have to prove to everyone we're good, and this proved it," Kifer said.

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