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'Cats sweep Panthers in 1A West first round

November 07, 2009|By JACK HILL III/Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT -- The No. 8-seed Williamsport Wildcats overcame some nerves to sweep the No. 9-seed Hancock Panthers 25-18, 25-3, 25-10 on Friday night in the first round of the Maryland Class 1A West region volleyball playoffs.

"We started out a little flat-footed," Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. "We had trouble with serve receives. Then, we turned it around. Our nerves were settled down. We were a little nervous at the beginning, because it was playoffs."

Williamsport (6-10) has a very young starting lineup with two juniors, three sophomores and a freshman.

Junior Trisha Leigh had 22 service points -- including eight aces -- while junior Paige Kitchen added 19 service points, five aces and eight assists for the Wildcats. Sophomore Ariah Giles had 12 service points, seven aces, four kills and three blocks, and sophomore Sam Kelly added four kills. Freshman middle hitter Stacey Christy -- called up from the JV -- had four blocks and three kills.

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Senior Briana Swisher finished with seven service points, five kills and five digs for Hancock (4-12). Maureen Leavy had three kills, Kelsi Clark added five assists and Hannah Creek had four assists for the Panthers.

"I feel that our serve receive hurt us the most," Hancock coach Laura Baker said. "(Williamsport) was able to execute off of our bad passes. With that said, I am extremely proud of the strides and accomplishments of the girls this year. Serve consistency and their ability to put the ball down impressed me the most about Williamsport."

Swisher's five service points gave the Panthers a 14-10 lead during Game 1, before the Wildcats won 15 of the last 19 points. Kitchen ran off 12 straight service points with three aces.

Leigh reeled off 19 consecutive service points with seven aces in Game 2. Giles had nine straight service points with five aces to help the Wildcats take a 16-4 lead in Game 3. Kitchen added the final four service points.

Williamsport will travel to No. 1 seed Smithsburg (14-0) on Monday night at 7 in the 1A West quarterfinals.

"We know what's ahead of us for Monday at Smithsburg," Crabtree said.

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