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Warriors begin title defense with sweep

October 31, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

BOONSBORO -- Expectations are a double-edge sword.

Sometimes, when everything is expected of a team, it crumbles under the pressure. And sometimes, when nothing is expected, a team can rise up and surprise everyone.

Boonsboro's volleyball team -- the defending Maryland Class 1A West champion -- understands both sides of the sword as well as any team. And after the struggles of a difficult regular season, Warriors coach Andrea Parry hopes her team can rise to the challenge now that expectations are low.

Boonsboro passed the first hurdle of this year's Class 1A West playoffs without breaking a sweat, sweeping overmatched Mountain Ridge 25-7, 25-7, 25-13 in the first round Thursday night.

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As the favorite in last year's Class 1A state title match, the Warriors fell in four games to underdog South Carroll. And as one of the teams expected to challenge for this year's MVAL Antietam title, Boonsboro (5-9) instead struggled to a 1-4 conference record. The Warriors lost their last six matches and 18 of 23 games in that stretch.

"Teamwork. That's the big thing we've been fighting all year," Parry said. "It's not a lack of skill, it's playing with one another and not fighting with each other.

"They're concerned about the pressure to have to (win the region) again. We don't work well under pressure. You saw that in the state final last year, when we were the big favorites and everybody expected us to win. ... It's been a rough road for us. We know we're a much better team than we've been showing. I told them tonight, we have absolutely nothing to lose, everything to prove and everything to win. We want to prove we are a good team."

While the Miners (8-7) entered the match with a winning record, they were not fundamentally sharp enough to ever threaten the Warriors, who racked up 19 aces in the first two games and committed just 11 errors in the match.

Alison Griffith led the way with nine aces and five kills, while Becca Demers had nine assists, six aces and six digs. Emma Dalton had seven kills and four blocks, Jaime Ebersole had 10 assists and eight digs, Kelsie Trumbull had eight digs, Macy Fuscsick had six digs and Cortney Silvis added four kills and two blocks.

"I was able to do some different things tonight with player combinations that I've been working on in practice," Parry said. "Tonight proved they are capable of coming out and working well together. ... It's good to see the girls come around and play well. We really needed this win tonight."

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