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Halos take their show on the road

June 10, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

The 15U Halos, a Tri-State Fellowship of Christian Athletes volleyball team which won four tournaments and 53 straight games earlier this year, are heading to the AAU Junior National Girls Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Fla.

The squad, composed of eight girls, will attend opening ceremonies on Wednesday before opening play.

"We have a strong team and we hope to make a good showing in the nationals," Halos coach Stephanie Belella said. "This season, we competed in the Chesapeake Region and we were seeded No. 1 at the beginning of the season. We actually finished fourth, but it was good enough to qualify for the nationals."

The Chesapeake Region is composed of teams from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

"We started the season in January," Belella said. "We started strong and really needed a challenge. We played some teams in higher age groups later in the season and I think the fact we faced that stronger competition will eventually help us at the nationals."

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The Halos won two tournaments in Sterling, Va., one in Hagerstown and another in Winchester, Va.

The members attending nationals: Taylor Belalla (Smithsburg High School), Erin Garns (Greencastle-Antrim), Paige Kitchen (Williamsport), Trisha Leigh (Williamsport), Megan Micco (Clear Spring), Lily Pinkham (Clear Spring), Sara Rishell (Smithsburg) and Madeline Smith (Middletown, Md.).

Garns led the team in aces (88) and assists (287); Pinkham had 82 aces, 185 kills and 115 digs; Micco had 76 aces; Kitchen had 125 digs; Rishell had 256 kills; Belella had 91 aces and 400 assists; and Leigh had 180 digs.

"We have a good mix," Belella said. "Although they play against one another during the (high school) season, this is a new experience for them. They are a part of a new team. We have good balance and good depth and have played a tough schedule."

Belella said things won't get any easier in Florida.

"It will be pool play and there will probably be four or five teams in each pool," Belella said. "There will be three days of competition and the championship will be on Saturday."

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