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Williamsport three-peats as state champs

November 21, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, MD. - In truth, Williamsport High School's 11th Maryland Class 1A state volleyball title - and third in a row - may have been won during Saturday's team introductions at Ritchie Coliseum.

Elkton - making its third state tournament appearance and playing in its first final since 1979 - had to have trembled when the public address announcer noted the Wildcats' 10 previous state titles, 18 state tournament appearances and their attempt at a three-peat.

It showed. While nerves may have gotten the best of the Golden Elks, Williamsport came out on the attack and never let off the gas in a 25-16, 25-15, 25-14 coronation that leaves the Wildcats tied with Centennial - this year's Class 3A champion - for the most titles in state history.

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"I know that has to be intimidating for the other team," Williamsport junior Sammi Snodderly said of the introductions. "We just had to come out and live up to it."

The Wildcats (18-1) did that and more. Williamsport left Elkton in the dust with an opening 21-6 run that foreshadowed how the match would go.

"They've been in the finals a lot less than we have, and that would intimidate them," junior Lea Drury said. "You could tell they were nervous in the first game."

"I thought that first game, Elkton had a nerves problem," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "Have any of their girls ever experienced this before? I think that's a big deal, and our experience really helped us today."

This was supposed to be a year Williamsport was vulnerable, with only one starter - Snodderly - returning from last year's team and with Class 1A West region rival Boonsboro seemingly ready to take the throne.

Instead, everybody stepped up and filled vacated roles. Snodderly took over where Lindsey Plotner - a senior star in 2003 - left off, Lacie Johnson gave the Wildcats a second attacking threat, Drury and Beth Ryan handled the setting duties admirably, Emily Malott and Lauren Brown contributed from the middle hitter spot and Summer Sines and Ashley Plume filled in when needed.

"We had a lot of doubters (this year), and I think the girls fed on that," Crabtree said. "That was their motivation: 'Don't tell me I can't do something, I'm going to do it.'"

And they did. Again.

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