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What's up front counts for Blazers

October 12, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

CLEAR SPRING - Clear Spring junior Emily Pinkham keeps it simple on the volleyball court.

As a server: "Get it over the net."

As an attacker: "Kill, kill, kill."

Pinkham did both Thursday night to complicate things for Smithsburg and help lead the Blazers to a 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 MVAL Antietam sweep.

Pinkham led Clear Spring with 14 service points - seven aces - and added seven kills and six blocks as a part of the Blazers' dominant front row. Sophomore Lindsay Lacy led the trio with nine kills and Amanda Jenkins had eight.

"The front row this year has been great and the setters are learning to get the ball to who's hot," said Clear Spring coach Kim Malphurs. "Having that kind of spread-out attack is a real plus."

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Emily Steinacker and Katelyn Blickenstaff each had 12 assists to set the Clear Spring offense into motion.

"It was amazing. We were working together and talking the whole time," Pinkham said. "We know we have to be there for each other all the time."

The attack was crisp from the start. Lacy had three kills and Pinkham had two as Clear Spring raced out to a 7-1 lead in the opening game. Smithsburg rallied for four straight points to close the gap to two points, but three aces by Pinkham regained the Blazers' cushion.

Clear Spring never led by more than six points - the margin was cut to two three times - but the gap was enough to hold off the unrelenting Leopards.

"The composure was there and we kept together as a team," Malphurs said. "We just wanted to get off to a good start and win that first game."

The Blazers (6-4, 3-1) got off to another hot start in the second game and used eight Smithsburg errors to take a 14-5 lead. The Leopards (5-5, 1-1) once again saved their rallies for late in the game, but this time they got no closer than five as Clear Spring coasted to the victory.

"The bottom line tonight was we got outplayed," said Smithsburg coach Rachel Bachtell. "They were swinging harder than us and they played harder than us."

Smithsburg saved its most competitive game for last, but even it was not enough to overcome the red-hot Blazers. An unforced error by Clear Spring to open the game gave the Leopards their first lead of the match at 1-0 and they kept pace with Clear Spring to forge a 12-11 lead. But a sideout and back-to-back aces by Pinkham gave the Blazers the lead for good. A four-point run down the stretch on the serve of Blickenstaff sealed the sweep.

"Everything tonight was cooking," Malphurs said. "We've seen it in bits and pieces all year, but everything came together tonight. Everyone took responsibility for the game and it was sweet."

Sara Rishell led Smithsburg with nine kills, Colleen Black had seven and Valerie Smith had 16 assists. Nikki Siefert had 10 service points.

JV: Smithsburg, 2-1.

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