Prep Volleyball: Leopards stack blocks, topple Rebels

October 01, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Smithsburg's Haley Caudell (12) goes up for the block as South Hagerstown's Alisha Adkins (10), Hayley Freeman (14) and Elena Young (9) can only watch Monday night.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG — The Smithsburg volleyball team is so young, coach Rachel Brashear has the Leopards playing with blocks.

Building blocks, that is, but they’re blocks all the same.

The defending Class 1A state champions stacked up all the mini-goals, which have been set up to help them in matches, on Monday to wall off South Hagerstown in a 25-13, 25-15, 25-8 MVAL Antietam sweep.

“Every game we jumped out to the early lead,” said Brashear. “I tell my kids to play first team to five (points), first team to 10. We play the little games to keep them focused.”

It worked on this night as the Leopards (8-1, 3-1) separated themselves in the early part of each set and used the scoring burst that the Rebels couldn’t produce to pull away each time.

Amanda Snowden led the way for Smithsburg, using a well-rounded game with 13 kills, 10 service points and six digs to pace the Leopards.

“Snowden was big tonight,” Brashear said. “She had big serves and was in good positions on defense. She hit almost 50 percent tonight, too. She showed that she is coming into her own.”

Snowden was particularly effective late in the match. In the third set, she teamed with Haley Caudell to help the Leopards break a 2-2 tie with three straight points for a 5-2 lead. Snowden added three more kills and a service run to put Smithsburg over the top and Caudell nailed a kill late — her last of six in the match — to help end it.

The Rebels (1-4, 0-2) had no answers for the Leopards and neither did South coach Chuck Weaver for his team.

“I have no answers,” Weaver said with a shrug. “We came out flat and with no emotion. When you play any team in the county, you can’t come out that way.”

South had a big chance at gaining a spark in 23rd point of the first set.

The two teams engaged in a battle of volleys that lasted for nearly 90 seconds as each side continually kept the ball alive on Hayley Freeman’s serve. It ended on a long set by the Rebels to give Smithsburg a 14-9 lead.

“That was a big point,” Brashear said. “The ball kept going forever. Every time there is a point like that, it helps get the momentum. We wanted to jump out on South in every game so we could relax. South is well coached and you don’t want to allow them to hang around.”

The momentum never really overwhelmed anyone as the teams played seven straight sideouts after the marathon point to finish a run of 12 consecutive points of trading serve. Snowden served out the final seven points of the set for Smithsburg.

In the second set, a pair of Snowden kills in the middle of a Caudell run of four points gave the Leopards a 7-3 lead. South came back to tie on a Kirsten Mohar run to knot the set at 7.

Jenny Fritz served six straight points to give the Leopards a 14-7 lead they didn’t relinquish.

Peyton Belella finished with 23 assists and six digs, while Marrissa Dangler added 17 digs for the Leopards.

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