Patriots are game, but Leopards win

September 10, 2009|By JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG -- The Smithsburg Leopards scratched out a win over the Thomas Johnson Patriots 25-20, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22 in high school volleyball action Thursday night.

"Coming into tonight, we knew that it was going to be a battle," Smithsburg coach Rachel Brashear said. "They were state runners-up in 4A last year. Thomas Johnson elevated our level of play tonight and our girls rose to the occasion. It says a lot about a team to battle back after being down."

With the match tied at one game apiece, Smithsburg (2-0) held an 11-9 lead in the third game.

Senior defensive specialist Mallory Petty stepped up with four service points in a row to boost the Leopards lead to 15-9. Smithsburg led by at least three points for the rest of the third game.

"It is all thanks to my coach to get me consistent with my serving," Petty said. "She really helps me out a lot. She talks to me while I am back there, allows me to serve hard. When our team does better, she lets me go for it."


Petty finished with 12 service points and 13 digs.

Sara Rishell had 21 kills, 20 digs and four blocks, while Katie Sprecher added 16 kills and 10 digs for the Leopards. Taylor Belella had 35 assists and seven digs, while Paige Decker added 10 digs and nine service points.

"I think Smithsburg did a great job of putting the ball where we weren't on defense," Thomas Johnson coach Jessica Custer said. "They have some very talented hitters."

Petty said she thinks the Leopards have good team chemistry.

"It is kind of nice to be on a team where they are like your family," Petty said. "It helps you to get along and you can bring that onto the court. I really wouldn't want to be on any other team."

Smithsburg swept the JV match 25-7, 29-27.

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