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Nalley is front and center for Leopards

October 19, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

When the going was getting dicey, Jenny Nalley moved front and center for the Smithsburg volleyball team.

That, in itself, isn't really earth-shaking. After all, that is where Nalley is positioned in the Leopards' alignment as a middle hitter. But this was a case when being in the right place came at the right time for Smithsburg.

Nalley became a much-needed catalyst for the Leopards in the pivotal third game, scoring four straight points off kills as Smithsburg scratched out a 26-24, 21-25, 25-7, 25-22 win over host South Hagerstown in Tuesday's MVAL Antietam match.

For the most part, the match see-sawed back and forth. In the third game, Nalley asserted herself and the Leopards as the better team in this match.

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"Sometimes our intensity gets down," Nalley said. "We need to get our emotions up. All it takes is one kill from someone and we can get going. Today, I was the one that gave us the jolt."

After two tight games, the Leopards (8-4, 3-2) caught fire in the third game. Kenzie Bowen served three points to help Smithsburg establish a 11-5 lead.

South scored a point on a Lindsey Steiner kill to move within five points before Teonna Jewel stepped to the service line. Jewell served six straight points - the first four leading to Nalley's kills - to move the Leopards to a comfortable 18-6 lead.

"It was a really a back-and-forth match, but Jen really sparked us," said Leopards coach Rachel Bachtell. "She dug deep and wanted the ball. We need her to have a presence in the middle at the net. Everyone knows about Kenzie, so we really need Jen and Teonna to do well in the middle."

Many things came together for the Leopards in what became the only lopsided game of the match. Kayla Martin had nine of her 17 total service points in the third game. Toss in the serving by Jewell and Nalley's net play, and Smithsburg scored 18 of the last 20 points of the game.

"We lacked effort tonight," said South coach Chuck Weaver. "We just didn't put forth the effort. ... Even when we won the second game, we didn't play that well. You can't do that against a team like Smithsburg."

The first game had nine ties and five lead changes. The Rebels (8-5, 4-2) broke a 20-20 tie on Brittany Hyatt's ace but couldn't hold the lead. Nalley broke a 24-24 tie with a kill, followed by her serve that South couldn't handle.

South kept Smithsburg at arm's length in the second game on the strength of four straight service points, three on aces, by China Miller to establish a 15-13 lead.

The Rebels got two more aces down the stretch for the 1-1 tie.

The fourth game featured the serving of Martin and Nalley, along with Bowen's net play. Martin and Nalley served four straight points each while Bowen benefited with kills off digs by Smithsburg defenders.

"Our passing was good tonight and our defense got to the ball. They were all over the court," Bachtell said. "When they do that, it opens up so many options for us."

South managed to tie the game at 19-19 and 22-22 before Smithsburg ended the match on two kills by Martin, along with a pair of service points by Jewell.

Hyatt led South with 25 assists and 18 digs, while Caitlin Nicewarner had 13 kills and Steiner added 14 digs and seven blocks.

Nalley countered with 15 kills and Bowen had 15 kills and 15 digs for the Leopards. Martin had 33 assists and seven kills while Jewell finished with eight service points.

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