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Rebels jell

South's game starts on idle, runs out of gas in loss to Knights

South's game starts on idle, runs out of gas in loss to Knights

September 08, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Will the real South Hagerstown volleyball team please stand up?

Rebels coach Chuck Weaver has to hope the real team is the one that showed up from the third game on in its season opener Tuesday night against Middletown.

After playing poorly the first two games, South righted the ship and took the next two. But the Knights picked their level up in the Game 5 tiebreaker and pulled out a 25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 24-26, 15-11 victory.

"Games 1 and 2, we didn't gel, and we haven't been jelling in practice, either," Weaver said. "(In Game 3) the serve receive picked up, and the game's a lot easier when you pass well."

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South committed 10 errors in Game 1 and 13 in Game 2. Aside from Rebecca Pearl's six kills in Game 2, the Rebels' offense ground to a halt, while Middletown's offense -- led by Mattie Smith and Ashley Higginbotham -- was impressive.

"Our passing and our serve receive wasn't there, and no matter how many guns you have up front, if you can't feed them, it doesn't matter," Weaver said. "If you had asked me after Game 1, I'd have said we'd be out of here in three (games)."

To their credit, the Rebels never packed it in. They played their best game in Game 3, committing just four errors while Emma Stahl, Morgan McCoy and Kara Henson got involved in the attack. Pearl and McCoy had four kills, Stahl had three and Henson added two.

Stahl had four kills, Pearl three and McCoy two as South pulled out a tight Game 4. The Rebels faced deficits of 21-17 and 24-22, but four Middletown errors helped get them off the hook. At 24-24, Kara Burgan hit a clean ace to the back right corner, and at 25-24, Stahl came up with a game-ending kill.

"They definitely didn't give up. They showed a lot of heart in Game 4," Weaver said.

While South committed only two errors in Game 5, Weaver was unhappy with the defense as Middletown scored 11 of its 15 points on kills.

"We were flat in the tiebreaker," Weaver said. "We played a couple balls poorly in the beginning and it flatted everyone's mood. Our defense needs to start reading a little quicker. When we went flat, we got lazy and our feet were stuck in cement."

Higginbotham had 19 kills, Smith had 18 kills and Holly Wright had 43 assists to lead the Knights.

Pearl finished with 17 kills and 14 digs to pace South. McCoy had 10 kills, Stahl had nine kills and 11 digs, Henson had six kills and 11 digs, and Megan Vance had 39 assists.

JV: Middletown, 25-16, 25-10.

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