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Patriots' state title dreams end in semis

November 17, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Thanks in large part to a difficult schedule, Thomas Johnson's young volleyball team grew up enough to make the Maryland Class 4A semifinals.

But on Tuesday night, the Patriots ran into an opponent that was a little too tough, and TJ's season came to an end with a 25-20, 24-26, 25-15, 25-23 loss to Broadneck at Ritchie Coliseum on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park.

The Patriots (13-6) earned their stripes by playing a nonconference schedule which included Williamsport, North Hagerstown and Smithsburg.

"I did it intentionally because I feel it makes us better at this time of year," TJ coach Jim Dorsch said. "We had a good year. I can't complain."

Bethany Springer had 12 kills and Lauren Cline had seven to lead TJ.

"We're young, we only have a couple of seniors playing consistently," Dorsch said. "Our two leaders in kills tonight are sophomores. We have some good players coming back, and I'm looking forward to the future."

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Senior Nicole Pagano had 14 assists and junior Michelle Bateman had 12 assists.

After dropping the first game, the Patriots rallied to win Game 2.

"I thought that was going to carry over, but we came out flat in Game 3," Dorsch said.

In a tight Game 4, Broadneck won the critical points to end TJ's season.

"We came close, but we weren't able to get over the hump," Dorsch said. "It was sort of back and forth. We were down nine points or so, came back and tied it, then they went up a couple points here and there. We couldn't finish it out."

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