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Hubs roll into final

November 09, 2006|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Kierra Nelson saved the best for when it mattered most. And Megan Crawford can only hope it continues.

While Francis Scott Key was keying on Kate Zimmer at the North Hagerstown net, Nelson made the Eagles take notice, as the senior led the Hubs to a 25-17, 25-13, 25-23 sweep in the Maryland Class 2A West semifinals Wednesday night.

"Her sets were on tonight, and she put the ball down when we needed her to," said Crawford, the North coach. "This was probably her best game of the year, and it couldn't have come at a better time."

The win sends the Hubs (14-2) to the 2A West final Friday at Liberty at 5:30 p.m. Liberty swept South Carroll in three games Wednesday.

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After cruising through the first two games, North faced a much stiffer challenge from FSK in Game 3. Dani Katsampis and Tara Hemphill began finding holes in the North defense from the net, and Lauren Tracey did the same thing from the service line. Meanwhile, the Hubs' normally potent net game fell flat.

But trailing 20-12, North responded with Nelson contributing two kills and a block in a 13-3 North run to seal the win.

"We all came through," said Nelson. "We regained our focus, and when we got down, we came right back."

Zimmer, the team leader in kills, was anything but invisible, finishing with 13 kills and 11 service points, while Hannah Boward and Karli Powers combined for 24 assists.

North wasted no time taking control of the first game, scoring the first nine points. Although the Eagles closed the gap to 18-14, the Hubs quickly regained the momentum, outscoring FSK 7-3 to secure the win.

Behind Nelson's net play, North raced to another early lead in Game 2, 16-7, and never looked back. Zimmer and Brooke Powell combined for four kills in a six-point Hubs run to claim the win.

"We're not used to getting leads like that," said Crawford. "We're used to coming from behind. But it's nice to see for a change."

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