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Gael Center hosting MDCC Tournament

October 27, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

St. Maria Goretti's Gael Center will host the Mason Dixon Christian Conference's final four teams Saturday for the semifinals and finals of the MDCC Tournament.

New Life Christian (12-4) and Cumberland Valley Christian (12-4) will open play in the first semifinal at 9:30 a.m., followed by Grace Academy (16-0) facing Broadfording (15-5) at 11. The third-place game starts at 1:30 p.m., with the final set for 3.

This season is the first that the semifinals and finals will all be played at the same place on one day.

"This is new for us," Grace coach Diana Serafini said. "I think for us, it will be an advantage. Eleven of my 12 girls play club ball and they're used to all-day tournaments. It should make it fun and add some excitement."

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"I like it better this way," Broadfording coach Sarah Derr said. "This is how it should be."

The undefeated Knights enter Saturday as the favorites, and they've had the MDCC Tournament title on their to-do list from the start.

"Right now, we're playing very well, and the girls want this more than anything," Serafini said. "Three years ago we were fourth, two years ago we were third and we were second last year. We've had our sights set on this."

Grace Academy's combination of experience and balance will be tough to beat. MDCC player of the year Kristin Serafini does it all, averaging 3.21 service points, 2.08 kills and 3.73 assists per game, and the senior's 92 aces this season are the most in the area. Junior Rebecca Morgan (2.19 service points, 2.73 kills, 1.79 digs) and senior Megan Cox (2.53 service points, 2.05 kills, 1.83 digs) compliment Serafini and were MDCC all-conference selections.

It's the Knights' chemistry that Diana Serafini believes gives them an edge.

"My girls like each other so much, they have fun and enjoy the game, and I think that makes them good," the coach said. "A college coach came to see Megan and Kristin play, and he made the comment that he can tell the girls enjoy playing with each other."

Broadfording has won its last seven matches and took a game off of Grace in a closely contested 23-25, 25-19, 27-25, 26-24 loss when the teams last met on Oct. 3. Still, against the other three teams still in the MDCC Tournament, the Lions are 1-5.

"We have to play smart," Derr said, pointing to passing and defense as her team's keys. "They're going to have to make wise choices. ... If one Grace player is off, it could definitely go our way. I don't know if our girls will settle down and mature a little bit."

While not quite as potent as Grace Academy, Broadfording spreads its attack around in much the same fashion, with junior Emily Stransky (1.82 kills) and promising freshmen Danielle DuBois (2 kills, 2.11 service points, 1.71 digs per game) and Hannah Young (1.93 kills, 1.99 service points, 0.63 blocks) leading the charge.

"With all the teams that are there, I don't know which teams are going to show up," Derr said. "I think it's really going to be whoever shows up."

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