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Rising Sun sets on Hubs' hopes

November 18, 2007|By DAN KAUFFMAN

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Before Rising Sun's volleyball team could beat North Hagerstown in the Maryland Class 2A state title match Saturday, the Tigers had to stop beating themselves.

Once they did, last year's 1A champions were too much for the Hubs.

Selena Ortega-Marvel had 28 kills and Lindsey Monger added 18 as Rising Sun's two dynamic outside hitters took it to North, which was powerless to stop the Tigers' march from a 2-1 deficit for a 25-27, 25-19, 20-25, 25-13, 15-9 victory at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

"I don't think this season could have ended any better, unless we won, of course," Hubs senior Kate Zimmer said. "We played our hearts out, but they were a really good team.

"We've seen some hard hitters against Williamsport, Clear Spring and Boonsboro, but their outside hitters were some of the smartest hitters we've seen. We were on our heels, not moving our feet, and we weren't quick enough."

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Rising Sun (16-3) committed 12 errors in Game 1 and 16 in Game 3, but righted the ship with a 12-2 run to start Game 4. Ortega-Marvel had seven kills and Monger added four in the game, in which the Tigers committed just seven errors.

Game 5 was more of the same. Rising Sun made just two errors, while Ortega-Marvel and Monger each had four kills as the Tigers won their second title in two years.

"They had two really good outside hitters and they swung hard and put the ball down," North coach Megan Crawford said, "Our girls were scrappy, but it wasn't enough. ... Rising Sun plays hard, they're a good team, and they were the better team today."

Amy Rudolph finished with 49 assists - a single-game record for a state semifinal or final match under rally scoring, which began in 2003.

Zimmer had 19 kills and five blocks in the final. Her 47 kills and 12 blocks in the semifinals and finals combined set rally-scoring records. Minta Lovell had eight kills and Hannah Boward had 21 assists.

Game 1 went down to the wire. Four straight Rising Sun errors gave North (18-2) a 20-16 lead, and the Hubs got to 24-21 before the Tigers won four straight points to serve for the game up 25-24. But Zimmer put down her fourth and fifth kills of the game to give the Hubs a 26-25 lead, then blocked Monger on game point.

Lovell had four kills in the middle part of Game 1 to give North a boost.

"We've done so much and done so well, and for a lot of us, it's the last time we'll ever play," Lovell said. "We'll always have the memories."

North's serve receive broke down in Game 2, as Rudolph served nine straight points to give Rising Sun a 17-11 lead. Rudolph had two aces, and on three straight points, bad North passes led to easy blocks by Monger.

But the Hubs fought back to tie the game at 18, with the help of four Tigers errors, Zimmer's two kills and an ace. The game was tied at 19 when Rising Sun went on a 6-0 run to close it out, with Ortega-Marvel putting down three of her seven kills in the game.

Lovell had three kills, Zimmer two and Boward four assists in Game 3, which was more about what the Tigers couldn't do - of their 16 errors, eight came at the service line - than what the Hubs did. But Rising Sun figured it out just in time.

"We've had our problems all season with our serving and passing, and it comes and goes no matter what I say or do," Tigers coach Rich Wilson said. "In a game of this caliber against a team like (North), any (error) winds up costing you.

"Volleyball is a game of momentum. I was sitting on the bench during the second game when we jumped on them, and I said to an assistant, 'This is a total head game.'"

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