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Rebels fight past Knights

October 16, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Grace Academy never gave up. South Hagerstown never gave in.

In a back-and-forth volleyball match, with both teams playing at a high level, the Rebels recovered from letting Game 1 get away and won the next three games - including the crucial third game that could have gone either way - for a 23-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-19 victory Monday at Grace Academy.

"They never gave up," said South senior Brittany Hyatt, who finished with 20 assists, 10 kills and nine service points. "We had to fight, and we didn't give up, either."

"We were so close," Knights coach Diana Serafini said. "I'm very proud and pleased with how we played. Entering (the Mason Dixon Christian Conference) playoffs, this was a great way to prepare."

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The Rebels (7-4) started fast, racing to a 7-1 lead and holding a 20-14 edge when Grace (14-2) called its second timeout. The Knights won the next seven points - six on Rebecca Morgan's serve - to take the lead. Later, with the score tied at 23, a South error gave Grace serve and game point, and Elizabeth Roane's kill gave the Knights the win.

"When we first went out, we had jitters. We had to settle down," Serafini said. "We came from 14 down the other night, and we've come back from down two games this year, so that tells me what they're made of."

"We came out real strong and got comfortable too quick," Rebels coach Chuck Weaver said. "Grace is a great team. You can't get comfortable, you have to stay on your toes."

Trailing 10-5 in Game 2, South regained the momentum with a 12-point run, with Rebecca Pearl serving 11 of them, including two aces. The Knights made seven errors in the run, most of them aggressive hitting errors. Pearl added five kills in the game as the Rebels evened the match.

"That was the momentum-shifter for us, in the game and the match," Weaver said.

Game 3 was as even as a game gets - there were eight ties and five lead changes. Grace served for the match up 24-23 and had several opportunities during the point, but an error gave South the tie and the serve. Sarah Burgan set up Mar'ke Cosley for a kill, and Sarah Renner's ace gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead.

The Knights used a four-point run to take a 12-8 lead in Game 4, but South used two runs of four points and two more runs of three points to take a 23-18 lead and finished off the match.

Both teams showed solid balance in the attack. For the Rebels, Burgan had 18 assists and 12 digs, Cosley had 10 kills, Pearl had eight kills and Desiree Giffin had 27 digs.

"We were pretty even across the net," Weaver said. "Our last match at Middletown, we had no middle attack at all, and you can't win with no middle. We were really conscious of that tonight."

Shurnitski finished with 31 assists for Grace. Morgan had 19 kills and Roane and Kara Rudisill each added seven kills.

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