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'Cats' sweep puts end to Leopards' spotless streak

September 13, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Smithsburg's Danielle Harbaugh, back, drills a shot past Williamsport defender Stacey Christy during the third game of the Wildcats' sweep to end the Leopards' 40-match win streak.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Sam Kelly knows how good Smithsburg’s volleyball team has been the last three years. That’s why Williamsport’s senior was so elated after the Wildcats snapped the Leopards’ 40-match winning streak Tuesday night.

“It’s great to beat a team as great as Smithsburg, who’d been 40-0 the last three years,” Kelly said after helping Williamsport sweep the Leopards 25-15, 25-22, 26-24 in an MVAL Antietam contest. “All my years playing, they’ve been amazing. To beat them my senior year ...”

All Kelly could do for several seconds was smile, before adding, “It feels wonderful.”

Smithsburg (2-1, 1-1) — the two-time defending Maryland Class 1A state champion — fell for the first time since a four-game setback to Fort Hill in the 1A West semifinals on Nov. 5, 2008. The Leopards fell one victory short of matching Clear Spring’s county record of 41 straight wins, set from 1993 to 1995. The Blazers won 1A state titles in 1993 and 1994 during their run.

“They were playing a very good Williamsport team firing on all cylinders,” Smithsburg coach Rachel Brashear said. “I can’t get mad about (the loss). We won 40 games in a row, it was bound to happen at some point.”

It was a total team victory for the Wildcats (2-0, 2-0). Stacey Christy had 12 kills and five blocks, Kelly had 12 kills and Ariah Giles added six kills to fuel the offense ran by Summer Neff (19 assists) and Emily Taylor (12 assists). Kelly (14 digs), Brooklyn Welch (14 digs) and Haley Wolff (nine digs) anchored the defense.

“Defense is what we stressed in practice before the match,” Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree said. “(Danielle) Harbaugh is very hard to defend, but our girls were on their toes and wanted to win.

“It took everybody. There were no superstars.”

Williamsport was at its best in Game 1, using a nine-point run for a 10-5 lead and staying out in front the rest of the way. Giles had four kills and a block, Kelly had four kills and Christy added three kills, a block and an ace.

“It gave us a lot of energy to have that first (game) under our belts,” Christy said. “We were just trying to play our hardest and give it everything we had.”

A 7-1 run late in Game 2 gave the Wildcats a 24-19 lead, with Kelly’s kill winning the game. Kelly also capped Game 3 with kills on the final two points.

Harbaugh finished with 12 kills and Amanda Snowden added eight kills and three aces for Smithsburg. Sarah Shives had 16 assists and Payton Belella added nine assists.

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