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Spartans need huge effort to nip Madiens

October 25, 2005|by CHRIS CARTER /Staff Correspondent

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Waynesboro volleyball team hoped to close out an otherwise frustrating season on a high note in its season finale.

McConnellsburg had other plans - plans that would be tested by a feisty Maidens squad.

The Spartans blew a two-game lead, but rallied the critical fifth game to survive a 25-21, 25-18, 21-25, 20-25, 15-10 thriller Monday night.

"We're usually pretty good at closing matches out when we get ahead, but lately it's become something," said McConnellsburg coach Erin Peck. "In the last game, I basically told them they had to come out and play tough defense."

The Spartans (13-4) followed directions well.

Blocks by Dani Parush and Gretchen Swope highlighted a quick 5-0 start for McConnellsburg, which also took advantage of eight unforced errors by Waynesboro to jump to the lead.

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"We had the momentum after the fourth game, but just got down for some reason," Maidens coach Lori Brooks said. "The girls really hustled to get back in the match, but we just couldn't side out in the last game."

That same problem haunted Waynesboro in the first two games. In the opener, the Maidens squandered a 5-0 lead by giving up runs of six and seven points to help McConnellsburg to a 13-6 lead. Another run early in the second game helped the Spartans take control.

"It's been the same all year long with giving up runs to the other team," Brooks said. "We actually came back from it and played well tonight. It's just too bad we waited until the last match of the year."

Facing a sweep, Waynesboro came out firing. Leslie McKenzie assisted on four kills to guide the Maidens to a 10-3 advantage. That lead eventually disappeared when McConnellsburg scored 13 of the next 17 to go ahead, 21-20.

The Maidens needed a spark and they got it from Abbie Biesecker, playing in her final game.

A sideout knotted the game and put Biesecker at the service line. She served back-to-back aces and served the final four points to give the Maidens the victory.

The momentum carried into the fourth game, but it was the duo of McKenzie and Gillian Hollen that came up big for Waynesboro. Trailing 17-15, McKenzie perfectly set Hollen on four kills during a six-point run to take a four-point lead. The Maidens scored their final points on four unforced errors by McConnellsburg to even the match at 2-2.

"During the comeback we seemed like we were really connecting," Brooks said. "Caitlin Toth, Paige Tanner and Jill Lininger were all playing good defense, Leslie was feeding Gillian with some nice sets. I thought we were going to win it.

"I always expect to win, but when we don't, it never ceases to amaze me."

Tanner had 13 kills and eight blocks, while Hollen had 10 and 16 for the Maidens. McKenzie had 36 assists.

McConnellsburg, which has two games remaining in the regular season, was led by Trisha Seiders' 10 blocks and seven kills. Swope had four aces.

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