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Leopards keep rolling

September 29, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN
  • Smithsburg's Katie Sprecher (10) goes up to block Williamsport's Allison Gulnac in Game 1.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

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SMITHSBURG -- Williamsport's volleyball team shook off a poor performance Monday against Greencastle-Antrim and came into Smithsburg's gym on Tuesday ready to fight the Leopards.

Smithsburg answered the challenge to win its 26th straight match, turning back the Wildcats 25-23, 25-19, 25-16 in an MVAL Antietam contest.

"It was tremendously different than last night," said Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree, whose team scored just 35 points against Greencastle. "We came to play tonight, and we showed that the first game. We came that close. Then we showed up the second game, but we couldn't land the knockout punch."

Williamsport (5-2, 1-1) played its best in Game 1, building leads of 4-1, 7-3 and 12-9. Paige Kitchen had six assists and Summer Neff had five, setting up Stacey Christy (four kills, two aces), Sam Kelly (four kills) and Allison Gulnac (three kills).

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Smithsburg (7-0, 2-0) was just a little better, finishing with 14 kills and three aces. Taylor Belella had 12 assists, two kills and two aces, setting up Sara Rishell (six kills) and Danielle Harbaugh (three kills) regularly.

The Leopards used a seven-point run to take a 23-17 lead. The Wildcats came back, winning six of the next seven points, but on Smithsburg's fourth game point, Rishell put down a back-row kill.

"We knew Williamsport would come out swinging for us. It's a rich rivalry, and everyone in the gym knew they wanted us," Leopards coach Rachel Brashear said. "The difference is we have seniors who stay calm. We've played a couple close games this year, and our girls have experience and confidence."

With Smithsburg clinging to a 15-14 lead in Game 2, the Leopards broke it open with a six-point run behind three kills by Rishell and two by Danielle Beaver for a 21-14 lead.

Smithsburg had 16 kills in the game compared to 10 for Williamsport. Belella had 15 assists, Rishell had eight kills, Katie Sprecher and Beaver each had three kills and Harbaugh added two for the Leopards. Kelly and Katie Seese led the Wildcats with three kills each and Gulnac added two, while Neff had five assists and Kitchen added four.

The Leopards took control of Game 3 from the start, with Rishell finishing six of the first 10 points on kills to set the tone. Smithsburg raced to leads of 7-1, 12-2 and 17-4 before coasting to the finish.

Belella finished with 39 assists, seven digs, three aces, two kills and two blocks for the Leopards. Rishell had 22 kills, two blocks and seven digs, Beaver had eight kills, two aces and 10 digs, and Sprecher and Harbaugh each added six kills. Smithsburg finished with 45 kills, six aces, four blocks and 21 errors.

Neff and Kitchen each finished with 14 assists for Williamsport. Kelly had 10 kills, Christy had seven kills, two blocks and two aces, Gulnac had six kills, Trisha Leigh had 25 digs and Seese added five kills and 12 digs. The Wildcats had 30 kills, four aces, three blocks and 20 errors.

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