Strong finish carries Hammond Bears rally to win over Mt. Hebron

September 30, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

While watching his Hammond Golden Bears struggle durin another volleyball victory yesterday at Mount Hebron, coach Henry Dahlen probably felt a sense of deja vu.

Last year, when Hammond surprised the county with a 10-4 record, the Bears usually did things the hard way by dragging out their matches to the five-game limit.

The Bears had put that troublesome habit behind this fall. But against Hebron, Hammond reverted to old form by saving its best volleyball for last. Needing to win two games to avoid defeat, the Bears produced a 9-15, 16-14, 10-15, 15-9, 15-6 victory to run their record to 4-0 and hand the defending Class 2A champion Vikings their first defeat in two matches.

"We [Hammond] opened the door for them [Hebron] quite a few times," Dahlen said. "Nobody has really dominated for us this year. Everybody is struggling, but we've had enough at the end. This wasn't pretty. It was a battle."

That it was. Hammond got off to a bad start by blowing a 9-4 lead in the worst way. The Bears faltered badly while Hebron mounted an 11-0 run to take the first game.

Hammond nearly duplicated that blunder in the second game by taking a 10-6 lead, then allowing four straight points before eventually falling behind, 14-11. One point away from a 2-0 hole, though, the Bears regrouped like the county and state title contenders they hope to be this year. They scored the next five points to turn the match into a best-of-three contest.

The Bears then began to assert themselves behind the strong play of Sonia Keiner (14 kills, four aces, three point blocks), Josie Kausal (six aces) and Ashley Scott (five aces, seven kills).

They also capitalized on a tough break for Hebron. In the middle of the third game with the Vikings leading 9-4, hitter Lia Kaltreider went down at the net with a foot injury and had to be carried off the court. With Kaltreider watching from the bench, her right foot wrapped in ice, Hebron hung on for a 15-10 victory.

But Hammond, in a must-win situation for the rest of the match, took control.

"I think it would have ended differently if she [Kaltreider] was still inthere. She's our second-best passer," said Mount Hebron coach Jeannine McCrumb, who lost four starters from last year's 16-3 team. "I've got to think about the fact that we're so young."

Hebron played "young" down the stretch without Kaltreider, who may not return until next week. The Vikings committed 23 service errors, including 10 in the final two games. That negated superb efforts by Kelly Quinn (14 kills) and Megan Waterfield (10 kills), who feasted on the fine setting of Kai Scott (29 assists).

Meanwhile, Hammond came on strong when it counted the most. After winning the fourth game to pull even, the Bears closed out the match decisively. Behind Kausal's three aces, they broke on top, 7-0. Then, after Hebron crept to within 8-4, Hammond ran off six unanswered points.

In the last game, Kausal -- who set a school record with 13 aces against Atholton last week -- had four aces. Keiner had four kills.

"Sonia is our money player, and Josie has been on a roll with her serve," Dahlen said. "We couldn't get any kind of run going early tonight. Six of our 15 points in that last game came on aces. That's the wrong way to play volleyball, but I'll take the win."

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