Inconsistent ways constantly nag struggling Panthers

November 07, 2011|By BRETT NIEVES | Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK — Hancock’s largely successful volleyball season came to an end in the Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinals on Monday night.

Fifth-seed Southern Garrett came into the Panthers’ gym and walked out with a 26-24, 25-11, 25-21 sweep to earn a crack at top seed and two-time defending state 1A champion Smithsburg on Wednesday.

“I’ve said this before: We’re consistently inconsistent,” Hancock coach Lauren Baker said. “We made mistakes between great plays. The service errors hurt us.”

Hancock (8-8) played Southern Garrett tough in Game 1. Both teams traded leads and forced  ties many times throughout the game.

With the score tied at 21, the Rams scored three straight points to earn three game points, but the Panthers won each of those to level the game at 24. But Southern Garrett scored the next two points to take the game.

“The team performed very well tonight,” Southern Garrett coach Stephanie Stephens said. “We served well, there was phenomenal hitting and the girls covered the floor well defensively.”

The Rams didn’t leave much room for suspense in the second game, as they jumped out to a 7-1 lead and cruised to a 14-point win.

“Hancock is a very good defensive team,” Stephens said. “We just tried putting the ball where they weren’t.”

The Panthers held a 20-16 lead in the third game, but a 9-1 run by Southern Garrett ended the match and Hancock’s playoff hopes, too.

“Overall, the girls worked hard this season,” Baker said. “They dedicated themselves to becoming better.”

Alycia Horner led the Rams with 11 kills and three assists, while Brooke Spiker added 11 assists.

Senior Tiffany Younker led Hancock with seven kills and nine assists, while Hancock’s other senior, Lyndsay Himes, recorded six kills and three blocks.

“The two seniors have been leaders on the team,” Baker said. “They’re part of the group that dedicated themselves to becoming better.”

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