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Williamsport's offensive variety doesn't spice life of Blazers

November 07, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport volleyball team caught a Blazer by the toe Monday night. Only when Clear Spring hollered, the Wildcats didn't let go.

Williamsport setters Christine Barnes and Lindsay Kneisley could do no wrong with hitters Jessica Bennett, Brittany Horn, Hailee Growden and Cayla Broadwater and the Wildcats used a balanced offensive attack to sweep Clear Spring 25-17, 25-12, 25-19 in a Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinal.

The Wildcats (12-4), seeking their fifth straight state title, will travel to Fort Hill - which swept Smithsburg - for a regional semifinal Wednesday night.

"It keeps the defense guessing when your setters have different options to go to," said Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree. "It's like eenie-meenie-minee-mo and the setters can mix it up."

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Barnes led the Wildcats with 20 assists and Kneisley added 10. Bennett and Horn each had 10 kills, Growden added nine and Broadwater chipped in with five.

"We've been talking and trusting each other a lot more lately," said Horn. "We can spread the ball around because we have good outside hitters and good setters. And both setters are different, which is good."

Meanwhile, Clear Spring (8-8) was shy in its attack. The Blazers scored just 11 points on kills, with Mandi Jenkins leading the way with six.

"The girls came out pretty pumped up for this game, but once they got on the court they couldn't pull it together for some reason," said Clear Spring coach Kim Malphurs. "We played timid. I try to tell them to play to win and not to lose. It was a big disappointment for everyone."

The Blazers were close to Williamsport at the midway point of every game, but the Wildcats paired their versatile attack with good play from behind the service line to pull away each time.

Clear Spring forged a 11-11 tie in the first game before surrendering 14 of the last 20 points.

In the second game, the Blazers led 7-6 before the Wildcats scored 19 of the last 24 points.

Williamsport clinched the match by scoring 15 of the last 24 points in the third game.

"We just needed a little bit of a burst," Crabtree said. "Once we got on a two- or three-point run we got more consistent play. Our serves were good, even though we missed more than we would have liked."

Growden had 17 service points and four aces, and Kneisley had 11 service points and two aces for the Wildcats.

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