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Wildcats' march to history tramples Warriors

November 12, 2005|By DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Convincing. Emphatic. Stunning.

The way Williamsport's volleyball team dismantled Boonsboro 25-11, 26-24, 25-21 in Friday evening's Maryland Class 1A West final - and in the process cleared arguably the biggest hurdle in its path to a fourth straight state title and state-record 12th title overall - met all of those descriptions.

"Coming into the game, we were probably underdogs, and we wanted to show people, no we're not, we're here to play and we're for real," said Williamsport senior Lacie Johnson, one of two three-year starters for the Wildcats.

Though Boonsboro (15-2) entered the final with two victories over Williamsport in three matches this season, it was the Wildcats (14-3) who outplayed the Warriors in every facet. Their attacks were more powerful, their blocks more intimidating and their hustle and determination defensively far exceeded that from their rivals across the net.

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"During the playoffs, we know what needs to be done," said senior Sammi Snodderly, the other three-year starter. "Our record speaks for itself and what we've been through all these years. We knew we needed to step it up."

"Someone came up to me and said it's just the mystique," Wildcats coach Emily Crabtree said. "The tradition started years ago, and we continue building on it year after year after year."

Williamsport will play the East region champion at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

While jubilation filled Williamsport's side of the court, once again Boonsboro's players walked off their side dejected after another playoff loss to the Wildcats.

This one may hurt the most.

With a deep group of seniors - including Jessica Ambrose, Caitlyn Selby, Kim Snavely, Kasi Harris, Lia VanCleave and Alyssa Lum - that went undefeated in MVAL Antietam play and captured the Thomas Johnson Invitational title, if ever the Warriors had a chance at state glory, this was it.

"We had some girls who didn't show up to play," Boonsboro coach Christy Faller said. "It's very disappointing. They didn't have confidence in the people I chose to put on the floor, and when attitudes come out, the bricks fall down. This was entirely a mental loss that began before the match started."

Williamsport's triumph resulted from an entire team coming together, and it started on defense. Emily Malott (eight blocks) and Jessica Bennett (five blocks) cut off many of Boonsboro's attacks at the net, while Johnson (15 digs), Snodderly (15 digs), Bennett (16 digs), Mallott (seven digs) and Lea Drury (eight digs) got to the majority of the others.

"When we need to step up, we step up," Johnson said. "We blocked awesome tonight and we played great defense. We knew we were going to have to block to be in the game. That helped us a lot and shut down their hitting lanes."

"If we don't block their big hitters, our defense is done," Crabtree said. "They've got to give our back-row girls an extra split-second to get to the ball."

With Drury (25 assists) directing the attack, Johnson (13 kills), Snodderly (seven kills), Malott (seven kills) and Bennett (five kills) did more than enough damage to ensure the sweep.

"Once we got into (the Warriors') heads, we knew we could take the game over," Snodderly said. "Once you frustrate them, they play as individuals, and we took it to another level."

"This was the big one," Crabtree said. "If we play like we played tonight, no one's going to stop us."

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