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Koontz provides spark for No. 1 'Cats

September 19, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

WILLIAMSPORT - With No. 1 Williamsport unusually inconsistent and South Hagerstown unable to put together a solid offensive attack, Katie Koontz made sure the Wildcats remained unbeaten Tuesday night.

Koontz was a steady presence at the net for Williamsport, and the Wildcats needed every one of her 11 kills - most on quick sets - to overcome their mistakes in a 25-12, 25-23, 25-22 sweep of the Rebels.

"I've been waiting for her to come out. We need that," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "We can't have one person to go to all the time, because when she's off, what do you do? So we need other people like Katie."

Hailee Growden had eight kills and Cayla Broadwater added four, but Koontz was the Wildcat who showed up at the key moments.

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Williamsport (4-0) finished off Game 1 with a 10-point run, the last nine served by Lindsey Kneisley. Koontz had all three of her Game 1 kills in the run and Christine Barnes added two kills. Kneisley had seven assists in Game 1, six coming in the final run. Kneisley finished the match with 19 assists and Barnes had 10.

Both teams struggled in Games 2 and 3, with both games staying close as a result. In Game 2, Kneisley hit two aces in a four-point run that gave Williamsport a 23-19 lead. Facing game point at 24-20, South (3-2) came back with its own three-point run, the last on Brittany Hyatt's kill, before Koontz slammed the door with her fifth kill of the game to give the Wildcats a two-game edge.

Koontz and Growden each had three kills in Game 3, and it was Koontz who once again closed out the game - and this time the match - with her final kill of the night.

While it goes down as a sweep in the scorebook, Williamsport was far from perfect. The Wildcats were called four times for illegal sets, and their fundamentals were shaky at times.

"Our setters had a couple lift calls and started worrying about it and second-guessing themselves," Crabtree said. "They've got to play hard every time they're on the floor. I don't know where our focus was. We played well enough to win and that's it."

Brittany Hyatt had eight assists and five kills, Sarah Burgan had six assists and Rebecca Pearl added four kills for the Rebels, who had their chances against the Wildcats but couldn't find the consistency necessary to pull off the upset.

"Our serve receive and our passing let us down more than anything," Rebels coach Chuck Weaver said. "Any time you face a team with a good middle quick, you're in trouble because there's no way to defend it. The best way is to have a good serve receive, good passing and keep them on defense, but that didn't happen."

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