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Blue Devils outlast Rockets in 5 games

September 20, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Greencastle-Antrim juniors Bethany Berger and Kortney Eshleman have shared time this season depending on matchups.

On Tuesday night against Mid-Penn Capital rival James Buchanan, Eshleman started the match, but it was Berger who anchored the No. 4 Blue Devils in the end as they knocked off the No. 5 Rockets in five games, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 14-25, 15-10.

Berger was sharp down the stretch, coming up with two assists and an aggressive kill to help Greencastle take the fifth game.

"It's really back and forth between (Berger and Eshleman)," said Greencastle coach Corry Eagler. "It depends on what we need to do from game to game. Bethany is big, she can block and she can hit the ball. I'm glad we can throw people out there and not miss a beat."

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Eshleman was active in the early games and finished the match with six kills and 10 assists. Playing time for Eshleman meant bench time for Berger, but when she finally entered the game, she made an impact.

Berger appeared at the end of the fourth game as the Rockets (4-1, 4-1) reeled off 13 of 15 points and went on to win. During the run, Berger made her first kill - which turned out to be a preview of the kind of presence she would play in the crucial fifth game.

Berger came up with a block early as Greencastle (6-0, 5-0) scored the first three points of the game, but the Rockets stayed within reach. With the Blue Devils up 11-9, Berger made two heads-up sets that led to kills by Julia Stein and Katie Lutz. One point later, Berger took a pass from Amanda Ritchey and slammed it to the court to give the Blue Devils a 14-10 lead.

"We just had to put that last game away," Berger said. "We needed to win this match because we know we have to go (to James Buchanan) next month and that's going to be a tough match, too."

The Rockets got off to a good start in the opening game as Brittany Harryman led the way with a pair of kills and three aces.

"I was pleased with the way we came out in the first game," said Rockets coach Erica Piper. "It took a lot of courage for the girls to come into this gym and start like that."

Greencastle outlasted the Rockets in the second and third games. With the game tied at 14-14 in the second game, the Blue Devils won seven of eight points before finishing the game on two JB errors.

The Rockets stayed close to Greencastle in the third game, too, but it was the Blue Devils who finished it out on the strength of two kills by Lutz.

"We were sending a lot of free balls over the net and they were attacking," Piper said.

JB showed signs of life in the fourth game and appeared to steal the momentum from the Blue Devils after Carrie Yeats served nine straight points to give the Rockets a 22-12 lead. JB finished the game off to force the fifth game, but the momentum gained quickly disappeared.

"They just outplayed us in the fifth game," Piper said.

Heisey led the Rockets with 11 kills, while Harrington finished with six blocks. Jessica Heiney had 32 digs and Ashley Zimmerman had 30 assists.

Lutz finished with nine kills, Stein had eight and Rochelle Christman added six for Greencastle. Ritchey led with 25 assists. JV: JB, 2-1.

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