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Liberty sweeps North for sixth straight 2A West title

November 11, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

ELDERSBURG, Md. - The folks in Eldersburg call it "Liberty Magic," but North Hagerstown's volleyball team might see it as more of a curse.

Either way, it spelled the end of the line for the Hubs on Friday night as they were swept by the Lions 25-23, 25-15, 26-24 in the Maryland Class 2A West final.

It's the sixth straight region title for Liberty, and all it took was one reach into its bag of tricks to finish off the Hubs.

Trailing by nine points in the third game, Liberty reeled off 13 of the last 15 points to steal the game and sweep the Hubs (14-3) for the second time this season.

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"We call it Liberty Magic," said Lions coach David Trumbo. "We're never out of a game or a match and, when it's on the line, we come up big."

Liberty's late charge made it a disappointing end for North, which seemed to be putting together a run to force a fourth and possibly a fifth game.

The Hubs scored the first five points of the third game and later extended the lead to 22-13. But a service error turned the ball over to Liberty's Katie Dell, who served five points in a row to cut the lead to 22-19. North scored only two more points the rest of the game and failed to capitalize on its only match point.

Tied at 24, Liberty's Melissa Stansbury used her powerful jump serve, which troubled the Hubs all game, to close out the game and the match.

"Our serve-receive broke down," said North coach Megan Crawford. "We didn't put the ball down when we needed to."

North also came close to opening the match with a win. The Hubs trailed 15-10 in Game 1 before Kate Zimmer served five straight points to even the game. North tied the game three more times, the last at 23, but once again Liberty closed the game with the last two points to take a 1-0 lead.

The close loss seemed to cause a hangover in the second game for the Hubs. After forging a 4-4 tie early, Liberty scored nine of the next 13 points and surrendered back-to-back points to the Hubs just twice to pull away.

"Winning the first game definitely gave us the advantage," Trumbo said.

In the first meeting between the teams, Liberty keyed in on Hubs kill-leader Zimmer. The Lions went with that approach Friday and turned Zimmer away on a pair of blocks. But Zimmer adjusted and began to tip the ball over the Lions defense. She finished with 11 kills.

Kierra Nelson also played an extended role, as she has in this postseason, and finished with seven kills.

"We've been trying to use her a lot more," Crawford said. "In the middle of the season she wasn't getting a lot of sets, but we've been trying to get her more."

Hannah Boward had 11 assists, Karli Powers had seven and Brooke Powell had six kills for the Hubs.

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