WESTMINSTER — Nobody was particularly surprised at Wednesday night's matchup in the Carroll County Men's Volleyball League A Division championship match at East Middle School.
But most had to be surprised at the result.
The scheduled best-of-five faceoff between the regular-season champ Silver Eagles and the runner-up, Good Guys figured to be a memorable battle for the post-season crown.
Instead, it was never close, as the Good Guys breezed past the Hanover (Pa.)-based Eagles, 15-6, 15-6 and 15-13.
The Westminster-based Good Guys, using superior height, dominated the net almost from the beginning.
The shorter Pennsylvanians hoped to harness the finesse and strong defense that had carried them to the league's best regular-season record.
But they never had a chance to establish themselves.
The winners' array of 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4 spikers took turns going on hot streaks and, fedby the setting of team coach Pat Larson, blasted the Eagles' strategy to tatters.
And they utterly stifled the Eagles hitters, who time and time again found themselves trying to spike through almost impregnable double blocks by their bigger opponents.
Larson said blocking was the key to his team's success.
"I told them there was one thing they had to do early -- block. The blocking established itself early and set the tempo. It forced them to adapt," Larson said.
The Eagles were unable to do it.
"If they play up to their capabilities, they're better than any other team in the league," said Silver Eagles coach Sam Bridwell.
The Good Guys led only 7-6 midway through the opener, but took control to score the last eight points of the game.
Rick Lee spiked home the game-winner.
The Eagles led, 6-3, in the second tiff before Jeff McKee and Gary Simpler found the spiking range and, along with Lee, propelled the winners to a 12-0 game-ending streak.
The Eagles made it closer in the final game as their strong defense frustrated the Good Guys hitters, who began misfiring with their spikes.
But midway through, Dean Douglas' hitting andblocking got the winners moving again.
Simpler then banged a couple of key hits down the stretch as the winners, trailing 13-11 at thetime, scored the game's final four points.
Larson liked the way in which his spikers picked up the team.
"All of our players have the ability to run a streak. I just stay with them until they stop andthe other team adjusts. Then I look for someone else," he explained.
Bridwell said his team should have covered the court more effectively to stop those Good Guys' spikes from dropping.
But, he added,the intensity wasn't there. "We just didn't have the spark. We nevergot it going," Bridwell said.