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Grace, Broadfording pack punch in MDCC

September 21, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

No. 6 Grace Academy and Broadfording are proving once again that there's some high-level volleyball being played in the Mason Dixon Christian Conference.

Before Thursday - when Grace Academy needed five games to defeat an improving St. James squad in the Saints' gym - the Knights had lost just two games all season (those coming in a five-game victory over Cumberland Valley Christian, yet another MDCC school) in running their perfect record to 6-0. They defeated Broadfording 25-20, 25-23, 25-17 in both teams' second match of the season.

Since that loss, the Lions have won 22 of 24 games - including a pair of pool-play games against No. 4 North Hagerstown at the McConnellsburg Tournament.

"It was a big confidence boost for the girls," Broadfording coach Joe Cartwright said. "It was a game where the players really wanted to beat them."

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"I know (Broadfording) has a great coach and great players, and we'll have to step it up a notch to beat them," said Knights coach Diana Serafini, whose team plays Broadfording again Oct. 1. "They've gotten better and they're a good team."

The Hubs managed to sweep the Lions in two games in the tournament final.

Grace Academy is led by senior hitter Rebecca Morgan and sophomore setter Jamie Shurnitski, a first-year starter. Morgan averaged 4.39 kills per game through Wednesday, with Shurnitski averaging 6.78 assists.

"Rebecca's a senior who can do everything, and her best aspect is her hitting," Serafini said. "She's really right now just playing very well. One great surprise is Jamie. She worked really hard in the summer, went to a lot of camps and is doing a great job for us."

Broadfording has its own sophomore setter in Becca Adams, who sets things up for seniors Emily Ahalt and Emily Stransky, both outside hitters.

"She's been our floor general," Cartwright said. "She's really orchestrating things for us. Stransky and Ahalt have provided good senior leadership for us and very good hitting."

What will Broadfording need to do to defeat Grace Academy in the rematch?

"We need to be a little bit more mentally tough, which I think we have become," Cartwright said.

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