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Rockets rock Spartans in 3

September 20, 2005|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - James Buchanan senior Jess Snyder is finally healthy and it showed Monday night.

Snyder, who was hampered with mononucleosis this summer and to begin the season, played her most complete game of the year to lead the Rockets past McConnellsburg 25-18, 25-18, 25-13 for its fifth straight win.

Snyder led the aggressive Rockets assault with 16 kills and four blocks. "I feel like I finally have my strength back," she said.

Those are welcomed words for JB coach Erica Piper.

"Having Jess Snyder healthy is a huge difference," Piper said. "I don't want to say she's the entire team, but she definitely gives us a big spark."

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Snyder got a lot of help from setter Erica Helfrick, who finished with 27 assists, including 14 to Snyder.

"They did a very nice job of communicating," Piper said. "Erica can set where Jess hits best and it allows her to be more aggressive."

The aggressiveness must have been contagious. The Rockets (6-1) finished with 32 kills and seven blocks and the defense, led by libero Tiff Hunsberger, was very active in its passing and placement.

"Our defense was going really well. That's where it started and it really set up our offense," Snyder said.

There were times, though, that JB's offense didn't need setting up as it racked up 13 aces - including five by Snyder - that often shifted the momentum toward the Rockets.

McConnellsburg (5-2) struggled at times and couldn't seem to put it all together. After leading at the start of the first game, the Spartans led only one more time - 10-8 after four JB errors in the third game. The lead vanished quickly when the Rockets closed the game on a 17-3 run, capped with three straight aces by Snyder.

"I told the girls we couldn't just go out and relax in the third game. Not against a team like McConnellsburg," Piper said. "We lost our focus a little bit, but I think we got back on track and finished the game well."

Trisha Seiders led the Spartans with seven kills and three blocks.

JV: James Buchanan, 2-1.

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