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'Cats break out the brooms early

September 06, 2006|by JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The four-time defending Maryland Class 1A volleyball state champions began the 2006 season the way they ended last year's - with a sweep.

The Williamsport Wildcats toppled the Class 3A Westminster Owls on Tuesday night, 25-9, 25-11, 25-15.

"For our opening match, I was pleased with our overall performance," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "Everyone was able to contribute to a balanced attack. I think the depth that we have this year was very obvious. In all three games, I had a different mix of players. There was no letdown in our team's lineup. Our serving was right on, and it really helped our confidence."

Hailee Growden came through with 15 digs, 13 service points, seven aces and six kills for Williamsport. Jessica Bennett had 12 digs, eight service points, five kills and four aces for the Wildcats.

Christine Barnes contributed 14 assists and two aces, while Brittany Malott added 13 service points for Williamsport. Emily Huff had 11 service points, while Cayla Broadwater had four kills and two blocks for the Wildcats.

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Williamsport got off to a good start, building a 7-2 lead in the first game. Later in the game, Bennett got four service points in a row to enable the Wildcats to extend their lead to 14-5. Huff added five consecutive service points to help Williamsport increase its advantage to 20-7. Growden got the final three service points for the Wildcats to win the game.

Malott came through with 13 consecutive points during the second game to give Williamsport an 18-3 advantage. Huff had the last three service points and Growden made a game-ending block for the Wildcats.

The Owls made a bit of a run at the beginning of the third game as they jumped out to a 7-3 lead. But after Williamsport got a sideout, Growden put together a string of six straight service points to give the Wildcats the lead for good at 10-7. At the end, Growden got a service ace to seal the match for the Wildcats.

Williamsport faces a powerful 4A team on Thursday when it travels to Thomas Johnson.

"There were some bright spots, but we still have some work to do to prepare for TJ on Thursday," Crabtree said.

"We are a very young team," Westminster coach Anne Plunkett said. "Williamsport served the ball really well. We struggled to get into a rhythm."

JV: Williamsport, 2-0.

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