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Martin becomes the hero

Heads-up play gives No. 10 Smithsburg win onver No. 9 South

Heads-up play gives No. 10 Smithsburg win onver No. 9 South

October 04, 2005|By DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Situations make heroes.

In volleyball, there's no better time for a hero to emerge than with a 14-13 lead in the decisive fifth game.

Enter Smithsburg's Kayla Martin.

With the No. 10 Leopards locked in a back-and-forth battle with No. 9 South Hagerstown - with the outcome of the match hanging in the balance - it was Martin's heads-up second-touch free ball to the vacant back left corner that gave Smithsburg a 25-19, 26-28, 18-25, 25-14, 15-13 victory over the Rebels on Monday night.

"I'd tried it plenty of times (earlier in the match), and it didn't work," said Martin, whose 37 assists helped Smithsburg (6-2) do just enough offensively for the victory. "I looked and I saw it open as the ball was being passed, so I tried it."

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"We tried it three or four times and it wasn't open," Leopards coach Rachel Bachtell said. "But Kayla pushed it far enough to get it to the corner. That was a real smart play."

The heady play finished off a match that no one in Smithsburg's sauna of a gym could have predicted an outcome for - not at the start, and not even when the Rebels (6-3) and Leopards were tied at two games and 13 points each after the match's 206th point.

"We played well, we just didn't play well enough," South coach Chuck Weaver said.

A similar contest can be expected when these two teams meet later this month at South Hagerstown in the match that will count in the MVAL Antietam standings.

With the exception of the second game - when the Leopards committed 16 errors - Smithsburg's offense ran relatively smoothly. In the first game, the Leopards did not commit a single hitting error, a rare feat. Behind Kenzie Bowen's five kills on the outside and Jenny Nalley's four kills in the middle, Smithsburg took a 1-0 lead.

Nalley finished with 16 kills and 16 service points and Teonna Jewell added 11 kills inside, while Bowen had 11 kills, 11 digs and nine service points working on the edge.

"When anyone in the middle is on, it's a whole lot easier because their blockers have two things to worry about," Bowen said.

The Rebels rebounded to take a tight second game, and used an eight-point run early in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Katie Moyseenko finished that game off with three aces in the final four points, and Caitlin Nicewarner, Marisa Bender, Chelsea Weaver and Lindsay Steiner each had two kills as South showed its attacking depth.

Unlike a four-game loss to No. 1 Boonsboro on Sept. 20 - in which Smithsburg won the first game before sloppy play hurt the Leopards in the next three - Smithsburg regained its composure before it was too late this time. An 11-1 run in the fourth game, behind Bowen's three kills and Jewell's two kills and one block, sent the match to the decisive fifth game.

"It was point-for-point in the fifth game and throughout the match," Bachtell said. "It was a big win for us. It gives our girls the confidence to win a close match in the fifth game."

Molly Powell had 10 digs for the Leopards. Brittany Hyatt had 27 assists and six kills, Weaver had 10 kills and 20 digs, Bender had seven kills and 15 digs, Steiner had nine kills, five blocks and 15 digs, China Miller had seven kills, 11 blocks and 15 service points, and Nicewarner had five kills for the Rebels.

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