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Devils sweep aside rival Rockets

September 07, 2005|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The 2005 volleyball season may be just two games old, but it appears the fierce James Buchanan-Greencastle rivalry from a year ago has been tilted in favor of the Blue Devils.

Greencastle (2-0, 1-0) was aggressive at the net, made few mistakes from the service line and took advantage of a scrambling Rockets squad to notch a 25-14, 25-14, 25-21 sweep of their Mid-Penn Capital rivals on Tuesday.

"I was very pleased with how consistent we played," said Blue Devils coach Vicki Ritchey. "We had the pass going, served tough and placed the ball well. It was key to have it all working."

The sweep is a far cry from the matches last year, when the teams split a pair of five-game thrillers en route to sharing the Capital title. The dramatic change could be attributed to the departure of top players from both squads.

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JB lost team leaders Ashleigh Helfrick and Leslie Serrano, both to Shippensburg University.

Greencastle said goodbye to 2004 Herald-Mail Player of the Year Jessica Ritchey, who is now playing at Juniata College.

"I think both teams are still trying to find leaders - us with Jess and them with Ashleigh," Vicki Ritchey said. "Jade (Dunhour) and Whitney (Meyers) are our team captains and they've been the ones to step up and try to fill that leadership role."

Dunhour and Meyers also played vital roles on the court for the Blue Devils. Dunhour was key at the service line, stringing together five consecutive points in the first game, three in the second game and four in the third.

Meyers was a constant threat up front, sending back numerous attacks with commanding blocks and, with assistance from setter Dunhour, picking apart the Rockets with powerful kills.

"It's early, but Whitney has played excellent. She's really punished teams on the attack and with her blocks," Ritchey said. "She and Jade were finding a lot of confidence and they played well as setter and hitter."

Meanwhile, JB struggled to muster up any momentum and appeared to be out of sync.

"I think we struggled with the mental aspect of the game," Rockets coach Erica Piper said. "I'm worried because we seemed to come in scared and unsure and it's frustrating because it's something you can't coach."

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