Eagler's week - A baby and a big victory

September 28, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

It's been a big week for Greencastle-Antrim volleyball coach Corry Eagler.

On Monday, the No. 3 Blue Devils upset then-No. 1 Williamsport in five games, avenging last year's five-game loss to the Wildcats.

"The girls were waiting for this for a long time," Eagler said. "We felt we could do this last year, and it could have gone either way. (Williamsport) and Chambersburg are our biggest matches, so we're halfway there."

If Monday was a good day, Wednesday was a great one - Eagler gave birth to her daughter, Abigail, who weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces. Mother and daughter are doing well.


So are the Blue Devils, who are rolling after a rocky start to this season - losing seven of eight pool-play games at the tough Susquehannock Tournament, and finishing third after losing to No. 5 North Hagerstown in the semifinals of the McConnellsburg Tournament.

"They came into the season knowing they would be better this year than last year because of all the club experience they got, but that hurt us at the start because they didn't think they'd have to work as much," Eagler said.

Since its third-place finish at McConnellsburg, Greencastle has won seven straight matches and 21 of 23 games, including Thursday's sweep of Boiling Springs.

The Blue Devils turned back Williamsport with strong defense at the net - Greencastle used a double-block in the middle to take some of the sting out of the Wildcats' quick middle attack.

"Blocking-wise, we've been strong because we have a tall group of girls," Eagler said. "The defense is something we've improved over last couple of matches. We did put a double-block on (Williamsport). I'm not sure how much they've gone against a lot of quick attacks, but we do it in practice, so we see it all the time anyway."

Greencastle spreads its attack out, with middle hitter Katie Lutz the most consistent attacker and middle hitter Rochelle Christman and outside hitters Kelsey Gearhart, Beth Berger and Julia Stein contributing. But it's the talents of setter Kortney Eshleman that makes the Blue Devils go.

"We're able to spread our attack really well because people don't know if she'll be hitting or setting," Eagler said. "She's probably in the top three of every category - kills, blocks, assists, digs. She can do it all, and that is huge for us. (Her hitting is) all second-touch. It's not very often you have an athletic, left-handed setter, so when you have it you have to use and abuse it."

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