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Zimmer makes Knights sick in 2A West final

November 11, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Curt Schilling's bloody sock, meet Kate Zimmer's bloody wrist bandage.

Had Zimmer stayed in bed Saturday evening, it would have been understandable. North Hagerstown's middle hitter was battling infections in both ears and in her sinuses, and made a trip to the hospital Friday.

But no way was Zimmer going to miss the Maryland Class 2A West volleyball final against Middletown. No way was she going to let a wound that opened up at the base of her right palm at the start of Game 2, or a dizzy spell that landed her on the bench for a moment in Game 3, stop her and the Hubs from making states.

Zimmer finished with a career-high 37 kills and Hannah Boward had 49 assists and 17 service points as North battled back from a 2-1 deficit, playing near-flawless volleyball in the final two games for a 25-21, 21-25, 25-27, 25-15, 15-4 victory and the 2A West title.

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"I was shaking," Zimmer said. "Honestly, the team was great. They were pulling for me, keeping me up. They came to me and said, 'Come on, Kate, you can do this.'"

"She's our big player, and we follow her, I guess," Boward said. "As seniors, we wanted this so badly. We knew this was our last shot."

North (17-1) will face River Hill in the Class 2A state semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

Boward had 14 assists and Zimmer eight kills in Game 4, as North (17-1) shook off losing a tight and tense Game 3 loss by racing to an 11-2 lead, and the Hubs were in control from there as their defense and passing finally came together to overcome a very tough challenge from the Knights.

"The third game we couldn't put away, but the last two games I was real impressed with how we came together, got up and stayed up," Hubs coach Megan Crawford said. "Once the girls decided to get behind the ball and pass the ball, we were OK. ... We started moving our feet and talking. They dug from somewhere."

Zimmer had seven kills in Game 1, in which Middletown committed 15 errors. But the Knights picked their game up and their jump servers gave the Hubs fits in Game 2. Kelsey House had four aces and Casey Burtner added three, while Caitlin Selzer added six kills for Middletown.

Game 3 was an absolute war, with both sides firing on all cylinders. Zimmer had 11 kills and a block, but House's nine kills and Selzer's four kills gave the Knights just enough to take a 2-1 lead.

"They put the ball in play and swung away," Crawford said of Middletown. "Our defense wasn't in the right place and they found the holes."

"I heard they had improved a lot, and they had," Zimmer said. "They played great defense and had a couple good hitters. We had to play our best."

And the Hubs did down the stretch, getting a boost from the diminutive Jennifer Bowlus' six kills. Bowlus and Minta Lovell (seven kills) gave North attacking options when Zimmer was in the back row.

"She was our spark tonight," Boward said of Bowlus. "She really played her 'A' game."

"She probably hit the best she has all year, and tonight was the night we needed it," Crawford said. "The girls have come together and bonded, and it shows on the court. They're always picking each other up."

Alyssa Collier finished with 16 service points for the Hubs, who reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1998.

"This was one of our goals, to win the region," Crawford said. "We need to come together Tuesday and play hard. They have to believe in themselves and have confidence."

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