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Underdog Boonsboro gives top-seed Poolesville first loss

November 08, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

POOLESVILLE, Md. - The Boonsboro volleyball team relishes the role of the underdog.

So traveling to face top-seeded, previously unbeaten Poolesville in the semifinals of the Maryland Class 1A West playoffs was right in the Warriors' wheelhouse.

Dropping the opening game made Boonsboro even bigger longshots - even better.

The fourth-seeded Warriors rallied after a slow start for a 22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 26-24 win to unseat the Falcons atop the region and set up a showdown at second-seed Williamsport on Friday at 6 p.m.

Boonsboro (11-4) trailed 16-8 in the first game before surging to tie the game at 22. Poolesville ultimately won the game, but it cemented the notion that the Warriors could compete.

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"We definitely knew they were a tough team, but we thought we would be able to beat them," said senior Tara Garver, who tortured the Falcons with 17 kills, 23 assists and five aces. "In practice, we work a lot on being down on points and finding a way to come back. We knew we weren't out of it."

The opening game was the only one in which the Warriors would need to mount a serious comeback, as they trailed just four times the remainder of the match - never by more than a point.

Not bad for the "underdog."

"Our girls had it in them from the start," said Boonsboro coach Andrea Parry. "Honestly, we like being the underdogs. We're used to being in that position and we seem to play better."

The Warriors kept the Falcons (15-1) off balance with a widespread, relentless attack. Allison Griffith had 12 kills, Katie Gantz had eight and Brynn Arnone added seven. When Garver went into attack mode, sophomore Becca Demers stepped in with 14 assists.

Defensively, Gantz had 13 digs and Amber Nalley added 12 to counter Poolesville's rapid offense.

"I don't think we would have been able to win without those two," Parry said. "We knew (Poolesville) had a quick offense and we would have to have a good net game. But (Gantz and Nalley) really did a great job with their digs."

Boonsboro found a different time to pull away in each of its game victories, but in each one, the Warriors needed composure to hold on. The second game was knotted at 6 before the Warriors went on a 13-5 spurt to take control. Poolesville scored six straight points to cut the score to 24-21, but Cortney Silvis' kill ended it.

With the third game tied at 18, Nalley scored back-to-back aces and Griffith had two kills down the stretch to seal it for an important 2-1 edge in the match.

The Warriors faced game-point at 24-23 in Game 4, but a Garver kill followed by two Poolesville errors clinched the upset.

"We knew Poolesville was going to stay in the game. We just had to play to win, not to not lose," Parry said. "We needed to stay relaxed and stay focused."

Cecilia Blank led the Falcons with 13 kills, while Jessica Chittenden added eight. Jenny Better had 35 assists.

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