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Warriors miss connections for title

November 18, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It's hard to believe the South Carroll volleyball team that took the floor at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum on Saturday night to face Boonsboro in the Class 1A state title match was the same team that the Warriors swept in convincing fashion about a month ago.

By everyone's account, it sure didn't look like the same Cavaliers.

South Carroll was tenacious on defense and unrelenting on offense and combined it with flaws in Boonsboro's passing game to stun the Warriors 25-19, 13-25, 25-15, 25-23 for their first state title in their first appearance at states.

"We knew they were going to be confident and we had to go prove to them we weren't the same team we were a month ago," Cavaliers coach Marcia Kunkel said.

Consider it proven.

South Carroll (13-6) served notice early it would not concede anything to Boonsboro (13-5).

Cyndi Scurci's nine-point serving run - which included four aces - gave the Cavaliers a 21-11 lead in Game 1. The Warriors cut it to 22-19 but got no closer, as Candice McDonald's ace - South Carroll's sixth of the game - gave the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.

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Boonsboro roared back with a 16-3 run to start Game 2, serving up five aces and putting down seven kills for the Warriors' one bright spot. The Warriors gave up a six-point serving run to Scurci - including three more aces - as the lead shrunk to 17-11, but Tara Garver's five-point run late sealed the game.

Still, the Warriors could not shake off their passing issues. Boonsboro made 13 errors in Game 3 and South Carroll took full advantage, pulling away from a 9-9 tie with a 16-6 run to take a 2-1 lead.

"It mainly came down to communication in the serve-receive and passing game," said Boonsboro coach Andrea Parry. "As the match went on, the passes kept getting closer to the net, and it's tough to make good sets when that happens, which is why we had trouble running our offense.

"Usually, we shake off the errors, but tonight we played tense and when we're playing tense, we don't play good volleyball."

The Warriors cleaned their game up some in Game 4 - they committed just seven errors - but by then the Cavaliers had their offense rolling. South Carroll scored each of its final nine points on kills, taking leads of 20-17, 23-19 and 24-20.

Boonsboro tried valiantly to rally, using Garver's kill on a smart tip at the net and two Cavaliers' errors to make the score 24-23. But Mary Harshman's kill gave South Carroll the title.

Harshman had 12 kills, Caitlin Sengebusch 11 and Lindsay Will nine for the Cavaliers. Tianna Quiambao-Panas had 28 assists and spread her sets around beautifully to keep Boonsboro's defense guessing.

"I really don't think they had the attack the first match they had tonight," Parry said. "We had trouble getting our block up ... and that really does hurt our defense."

As expected, South Carroll used last month's loss and the underdog role as motivation.

"It was nice that we played them, I think we had an advantage in losing to them and being the underdog," Kunkel said. "They had every right to be confident, but we knew what we could do, and we did it."

Meanwhile, Boonsboro - which entered the final looking for its first title since 1984 - finished its season wondering what happened to the form it showed a week ago in the 1A West playoffs.

"I think we took some things for granted and didn't play our game," said Garver, who finished with 17 assists. "They were an improved team."

"We came so far," said Alison Griffith, who led the Warriors with 11 kills. "We beat Poolesville and Williamsport, and that's when we left it all on the floor. Tonight, we didn't."

Katie Gantz had nine kills, Emma Dalton six and Cortney Silvis and Brynn Arnone each added five for Boonsboro.

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