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Koehler's service leaves Hawks smiling

November 02, 2008|By JACK HILL III

What started as an experiment became a secret weapon.

Middle hitter Rachel Koehler stepped to the service line for the first time for Hagerstown Community College on Saturday. And, of all times, her debut came during the Region XX Volleyball Tournament at HCC's athletic complex.

Koehler responded to the call, scoring at least five service points in each of the four games during two matches. She finished with 21 service points and five aces to help the Hawks reach the tournament semifinals.

HCC downed Chesapeake 25-17, 25-18 before beating Harford 25-12, 25-10 in the first day of the two-day tournament.

"Today was the first day that they had me started serving in the games," Koehler said. "So I said, 'Why not?' I felt OK about my serving. I was just serving the way that they taught us. Once I got a few serves, I started to get a rhythm going and I felt comfortable."

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HCC coach Beth Domenico took a chance on Koehler after watching her hone her serve into form.

"In practice, Rachel came on with her serving," Domenico said. "So, we decided to use her today. I think that helped her get into the game more."

HCC (31-9) faces Potomac State in today's semifinal round at 11 a.m., while the College of Southern Maryland will play Chesapeake. The winners advance to the championship match at 1 p.m.

HCC is attempting to win its sixth straight region title. HCC clinched the regular-season championship in the Maryland JuCo Conference for the second straight year and for the fifth time in the last six years last week.

Tara Garver contributed 41 assists, while Morena Ribeiro collected 14 service points, 17 kills, six aces and five digs for HCC. Rebecca Morgan got 17 kills and nine digs, Hailee Growden added seven digs and four aces and Julia Becker had six kills and five digs for the Hawks.

"The team had a great start to the tournament," Domenico said. "We came out serving hard and I think it had a big impact in how the team played. We came out with a lot of intensity. We need to carry that into tomorrow. We have set some team goals and, hopefully, we'll be able to reach them."

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