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Focus group - Wildcats get in sync to scramble Antietam chase

October 21, 2008|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - The frown on Cayla Broadwater's face before the start of Game 5 on Monday night didn't last long.

"I just like to stay focused," said the Williamsport senior after leading the Wildcats' volleyball team to a stirring 18-25, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 15-11 victory, denying Clear Spring the outright MVAL Antietam championship. "We really don't like going into a fifth game, but we thrive on the pressure, and we really came through tonight."

The win came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Smithsburg last week, and creates the potential for a three-way tie atop the league - between Williamsport, Clear Spring and Smithsburg - entering the Class 1A West playoffs. Smithsburg travels to Boonsboro tonight, and a victory will give the Leopards a share of the Antietam title.

"(This) was huge," said Wildcats coach Emily Crabtree. "We knew coming in this was going to mean a share of the MVAL (Antietam) title, possibly a bye in the first round of the playoffs, and possibly home-court advantage. I told them not to leave anything on the floor, and they didn't."

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Broadwater came through in the final game with five kills, as Williamsport (11-2, 4-1) burst to an 8-1 lead.

But Broadwater had plenty of help, as Brittany Malott registered nine kills in Games 2 and 3 - both Wildcats victories. The Blazers (10-2, 4-1) committed 23 errors in those two games.

"We made too many unforced errors," said Clear Spring coach Kim Malphurs. "We kind of hurt ourselves."

The Blazers looked like they might walk away with it after the first game, running out to a 20-11 lead before settling for a seven-point win, spurred by six service aces including a pair from Lily Pinkham.

Six kills by Amanda Jenkins in Game 4, combined with 12 Williamsport errors, forced the pivotal fifth game.

Broadwater finished with 16 kills and seven blocks, Malott added 12 kills and Amanda Hutzell had 20 service points. Jenkins led Clear Spring with 19 kills.

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