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Prep volleyball: Blue Devils communicate to top Maidens

September 18, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — The most critical moments of Greencastle-Antrim’s volleyball match on Tuesday were decided in a Facebook second.

The Blue Devils decided to “like” each other again.

After taking a dominant 2-0 lead, Greencastle stumbled for the next 1 1/2 sets before righting itself to collect a 25-16, 25-16, 19-25, 25-16 Mid-Penn Capital win over Waynesboro.

Devils coach Katie Lutz took a timeout at 15-14 in the decisive fourth set and told the Blue Devils to become social again.

“I told them, ‘You need to play as a team. You don’t look like you like each other,’” Lutz said. “Then they went out and started talking to each other and communicating.

“They are all great team players. They were trying to do too much on their own.”

Just like that, Greencastle (7-0, 6-0) became buzz-worthy again.

Gabbie Hissong served five straight points in the closing stages as Greencastle closed with a 10-2 flurry to shut down upstart Waynesboro. Hissong started the run with a kill off the Maidens’ block and followed with two aces to give Greencastle all the breathing room it needed.

“We kind of let up a bit,” Lutz said. “We got up 2-0 and they let up while Waynesboro kept playing their hearts out. I kept telling them that Waynesboro has done that a lot and to keep their heads in the game, but they got exhausted.”

It looked like a quick trip for Waynesboro (2-4, 2-3) after the first two sets. Greencastle’s Nakita Gearhart used her powerful swings from the outside while Hissong and Chloe Hoover did the work in the middle for relatively easy wins.

But the Maidens worked their way to the net in the third set and started finding the seams in Greencastle’s defensive alignment to make a statement.

“For some reason, the third set is when we get started,” said Waynesboro coach Kim Saunders. “Then, it’s a little late. If we can carry that intensity over in the first set ...

“We weren’t picking up balls early. We knew they had a big hitter and that we had to be scrappy early, but we didn’t get the digs.”

Greencastle used quick scoring bursts in the first two sets to get the upper hand. It was Waynesboro’s turn in the third set.

Megan Biesecker scored an ace to put Waynesboro ahead 3-2 and served two more points to give the Maidens some working capital.

Waynesboro methodically extended the lead as Dori Kozain established herself in the middle while the Maidens kept returning the free balls until Greencastle made errors.

The Blue Devils got within 19-17 before the Maidens made a final run, with Sierra Davies serving to win the set and stay alive in the match.

“We have to make the smart plays,” Saunders said. “We are still young and not used to winning. We have to start getting mentally tough. We aren’t there yet.”

Gearhart led Greencastle with 16 kills and 10 digs, while Hissong added nine kills, three aces and three blocks and Hoover had seven kills, three aces and three blocks. Morgynn McKenzie had 16 digs and Erin Koons added 39 assists.

Davies led Waynesboro with 12 digs, while Kozain had six kills and Kauffman added three.

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