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Rebels dust off Coyotes

November 10, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

The South Hagerstown volleyball team has been in the middle of a massive high pressure system.

When it comes to Maryland playoff season, the Rebels have been drier than the Sahara Desert.

"It's been 16 years since South has been to the state tournament," said Rebels setter Megan Vance. "We feel like we are a team that can go all the way. It will be tough, but we think we can do it."

On Monday, South may have done the next best thing to a rain dance. Vance led the serving onslaught and was all over the floor setting the Rebels in prime hitting positions to spark a 25-8, 25-17, 25-17 sweep of Clarksburg in the Maryland Class 3A West quarterfinals.

With two more victories, South would make the state semifinals two classes higher than it was used to as a 1A squad. The last time the Rebels had those kinds of aspirations, Vance was behind the rails of a crib instead of the mesh of a net.

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"This was a great first step," said South coach Chuck Weaver. "Hey, it was a 'W.' But if the girls can stay with it the rest of the week, we will do well."

South will host Watkins Mill, a 3-1 winner over Frederick, on Wednesday.

The Rebels took control of the match from the start, jumping off to a quick 8-1 lead. Kara Henson provided three aces in a six-point run to provide the cushion.

South gained the advantage by keeping the Coyotes off the net and keeping Clarksburg's rallies to sideouts. Clarksburg scored just one point in the first game -- and 14 points overall -- off of its serves.

"I thought we came out with our heads where they should be," Weaver said. "Our game starts with our serve receiving and our defense. If we can do that, everything will take care of itself and it puts us at the net."

Vance served South to a 6-0 lead to start the second game. Her deep serves, combined with the ability to track down balls and set up Henson, Megan McCoy and Rebecca Pearl allowed the Rebels to push to a 18-9 lead.

"We were looking for open holes and finding them for points," said Vance, who had 15 servic points and 14 assists. "We had our best players out there and we tried to do our best."

Clarksburg did its best to comeback when Shannon Skellchock and Sawmdi Koskativar were at the line with diving serves to extend the Rebels. It was enough to make things close, but not enough to pull out the victory.

The third game was a battle of sideouts as the Rebels took an 8-7 lead. South kept Clarksburg in the back half of the court, forcing the Coyotes into back-row hits while putting together a 10-2 run to take control. Vance provided a run of five points to establish the cushion.

The Coyotes put on a flurry to get to within 23-17, but South closed out the match with a sideout off an errant serve and a Pearl ace to claim the victory, one that could be the beginning of the end of a drought.

Henson finished with 10 points, while Pearl added eight points and eight kills and Kara Bergan had seven points for South.

"I don't believe South has won the region since 1993," Weaver said. "To be able to do that now would be amazing and to do it as a 3A school would be something."

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