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Blazers mix, match way to win

September 22, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN

CLEAR SPRING -- Kim Malphurs' official title should be changed from Clear Spring head volleyball coach to Clear Spring mad scientist.

Malphurs spent Tuesday night's match against Hancock experimenting with lineup after lineup, tweaking everything possible, looking for the best combinations of players. Some moves were a success and some failed, but in the end the Blazers were able to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season, 25-9, 27-29, 25-12, 25-12.

"It was good tonight to play everyone in the lineup, work the lineups and get a win," Malphurs said. "Hancock is really improved. It's good to see those girls play like they are."

Hancock (4-1) scored more points against Clear Spring on Tuesday than in two combined matches against the Blazers last year. The Panthers rallied from a 22-14 deficit to win Game 2 -- their first victory in a game against Clear Spring since 2004.

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"That's one of the improvements from last year, is this team has the desire and motivation to never give up," Hancock coach Laura Baker said. "In Game 2, our passes were on point, which allowed our offense to be set up."

However, the Blazers (2-2) were the more potent offensive team overall. Clear Spring finished with 45 kills and 19 aces, compared to 21 kills and eight aces for Hancock.

Clear Spring spread the wealth around, led by junior Emily Winters, who had 11 kills and six aces.

"I have seen a big improvement in her aggressiveness the last few games," Malphurs said. "She's stepped up and is coming to the forefront to be a leader. I'm feeling trust in her, that when we need a point, she'll do something to get it."

Megan Micco had nine kills, eight assists, six digs and three aces, Sarah Elwood had nine kills and Lily Pinkham added six kills and six aces for the Blazers. Abby Hoosier finished with 20 assists -- all in the first three games.

"I do consider this a rebuilding year," Malphurs said. "These girls are all learning how to play together. They have a lot of adjustments to get through."

Maureen Leavy had 12 kills, Cortney Golden had 11 assists and seven digs, and Ashton Cook added five digs for Hancock.

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