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Boonsboro returns to state semis after 22-year absence

November 10, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

WILLIAMSPORT - All those times Boonsboro's volleyball team was oh, so close to winning the Maryland Class 1A West title and reaching the state semifinals, only to be denied by Williamsport.

Not this time.

This time, it's the Warriors' turn.

Tara Garver had 21 assists, 12 service points - five on aces - and seven kills as Boonsboro overcame a 2-1 deficit for a 20-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11 victory over the Wildcats, sending the Warriors to the state semifinals for the first time since 1985.

"We told each other not to give up," said Garver of the 2-1 deficit, which came after Boonsboro (12-4) blew a 22-16 lead in Game 3. "The confidence we have, we were able to put it behind us. ... I think we just needed to relax and calm down."

"It's a matter of staying focused and playing our game," said coach Andrea Parry, who has led Boonsboro to the state semifinals in her first year at the helm. "We're a team that likes to play from behind. We like being the underdogs. We stay focused and we play to win, not to not lose."

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It was sweet redemption for Boonsboro, which had been haunted by Williamsport (15-3) this year - the Wildcats defeated the Warriors in five games in both regular-season meetings - and in recent years. Williamsport swept Boonsboro in the 1A West final in 2003 and 2005, and edged the Warriors in five games in the 2004 semifinals.

"We are so excited for the seniors, it's their dream come true," Parry said. "They've been so close to breaking through, but most of the time it's been Williamsport stopping them, so beating them was huge for them."

"They beat the No. 1 team (Poolesville) and were coming in with the confidence to knock us down," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "We knew what was coming. ... I give all the credit in the world to Boonsboro. This was the state championship match as far as I'm concerned."

Garver's game got better the second she decided to ditch her jump serve - which netted just one service point as she had trouble controlling it in the first three games - and kept her feet on the floor. Her string of five straight points - including two aces - gave the Warriors an 18-10 lead in Game 4, and her three-point run - with two more aces - gave the Warriors a 4-0 lead in Game 5 that they extended to 11-4 before holding on.

"I was trying to jump-serve, but I knew I couldn't make any more mistakes once we were down 2-1," Garver said. "I knew they had a tough defense. I tried to place the ball as well as I could."

"Those games she was jump-serving, she looked at me and asked me what she was doing wrong," Parry said. "It was all mental. She made that choice to stay down, and she got her confidence back and played her game, and she's key for us. We need her confidence."

Alison Griffith had 12 kills, Katie Gantz had 11 kills, 10 blocks and nine digs, Becca Demers had 13 assists, Brynn Arnone had six kills and Emma Dalton added 15 service points for Boonsboro. The Warriors finished with 18 blocks to take some of the steam out of Williamsport's attack.

"Blocking was a really big key," Parry said. "Gantz at the net was unbelievable. Dalton had three, Griffith had three, Arnone had two, Garver had two, and that made all the difference in the world. They have big hitters and we knew we had to do something. They got those touches."

Christine Barnes had 19 assists, 16 service points - including six aces - and nine digs to lead Williamsport, which lost in the 1A West final for the second straight year. Lindsey Kneisley also had 19 assists, while Cayla Broadwater and Katie Koontz had 14 kills each, Brittany Malott had 13 kills and Hailee Growden added seven kills, 13 service points and 18 digs.

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