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Rishell goes to head of class at net as Leopards sweep Wildcats

Rishell goes to head of class at net as Leopards sweep Wildcats

September 30, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

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    WILLIAMSPORT -- It didn't take long Tuesday night for everybody in the Williamsport High School gym to know exactly where the ball was going when Smithsburg's Sara Rishell was in the front row.

    One definition of greatness: When the opponent knows you're getting the ball, and is still powerless to stop you.

    Rishell continued her remarkable junior season with a match for the ages, finishing with 27 kills -- nine per game -- as the undefeated Leopards blasted the overmatched Wildcats 25-13, 25-10, 25-19 in an MVAL Antietam match.

    "My team gets me the ball," said Rishell, and the Leopards certainly did. "We get great passes, great sets, and when we do that, anybody on this team can put it away."

    Nobody in Washington County puts it away quite like Rishell. She entered the match having produced 118 kills in 21 games for a 5.62 average. She had at least six kills in every game Tuesday, and had an amazing 12 in Game 3.

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"Sara is a very hard worker and she deserves every accolade, but she's not worried about the accolades as long as we win," Smithsburg coach Rachel Brashear said. "She's a team player and a leader, and she's taken it to the next level. She's the hardest-working player out there."

"Give all the credit to Smithsburg," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "Sara stole the show. She was too much for us."

Rishell added 10 digs and four blocks for the Leopards (7-0, 2-0). Taylor Belella had 36 assists and four aces, Katie Sprecher had 10 digs and five kills, Danielle Beaver had nine digs and Colleen Black added five kills.

Williamsport (2-5, 0-2) -- which has only one senior on the roster -- committed just 17 errors in the three games, a respectable 5.67 per game. But defensively, the Wildcats simply could not handle the Leopards, who have won 21 of the 24 games they've played and appear to be a serious Class 1A state title contender. Smithsburg's last of five state titles came in 2001.

"Knowing that they've done it in the past makes it more sweet if we can do it now," Rishell said. "It gives us hope knowing they've done it."

"They know the history, and they're proud to wear the purple and gold," Brashear said.

Loganne Smith had eight assists, Paige Kitchen had seven assists and three kills, and Trisha Leigh and Ariah Giles each had five kills for Williamsport.

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