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Rebels find their way in 2A West semifinals

November 06, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

For the South Hagerstown volleyball team, it all came down to placement.

Emma Stahl was in the wrong place at the right time.

Brittany Hyatt just wanted to be in place.

And the Rebels' hitting attack finally got in the right places.

It all added up to putting the Rebels in place for a region semifinal showdown with North Hagerstown after pulling out a tight five-game victory over Century on Monday in the Maryland Class 2A West playoff match.

Stahl got the final swing of the night - albeit by accident - to finish off the Knights in a back-and-forth 24-26, 25-23, 26-24, 16-25, 15-12 victory in which the Rebels could have been left for dead earlier in the match.

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But the Rebels fought back to score the final five points of the decisive game, finished off by a pair of kills by Stahl.

"I was surprised when the ball came over to me," Stahl said. "I was supposed to be somewhere else on the floor. I just got a little confused, but I got the job done."

It completed a rousing comeback for South, which went to the limit before losing the first game and was down 20-12 in the second when Hyatt stepped to the service line. The senior found the simplest of motivations - fear - to serve 11 straight points, including three aces, to move the Rebels into a 23-20 lead.

"It all clicked in my head right then," said Hyatt, who had 22 service points, 14 kills and 24 assists. "If we lose, we are done and I didn't want it all to be done since it would have been my last match of my senior year. I was just looking for holes and I was going with it."

Hyatt's deep serves kept the Knights on their heels, forcing lunges for digs and spreading them across the floor. It made all the difference for the Rebels.

"When Brittany started her service run, it's when the momentum started to shift," said South coach Chuck Weaver. "These matches are all about momentum. We were down one game and in danger of going down two games, but it got us going."

The third game became a battle of sideouts after Century came back from a 12-5 deficit. Allie Reed served the Knights into a 19-19 tie and the two teams forged five more deadlocks to reach 24-24 before South finally took over. Hyatt put down a kill and Sarah Burgan served an ace to seal the game.

Century rolled through South in the fourth game, pushing out to a 22-11 lead. Hyatt stepped up to serve a five-point run to get the Rebels to within six points before the Knights' Auriel Reeser served out the game.

The Rebels began to tire in the final game, with many serves hit into the net. But when the ball got over, South started clicking on the kills between Hyatt, Stahl, Mar'ke Cosley and Rebecca Pearl to stay in the match.

"In the fourth and fifth games, we played evenly across the net," Weaver said. "We were missing that in the first two games. But once we got it set up, we got going."

Each team held leads in the final game that featured ties at 1, 6, 7, 9 and 12. A Pearl kill brought the Rebels back to within 12-11 and set up the final run, ending with the last of Stahl's 14 kills. Pearl finished with 19 kills.

"I tell you, we played Century in the regular season and we didn't have much trouble and swept them in three," Weaver said. "They showed up tonight. But this team is very competitive and one of the few teams that I have had the pleasure of coaching that doesn't quit."

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