Muse sets up winning volleyball at City Senior co-captain leads by example

October 06, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Lucy Muse, a senior volleyball co-captain at City, is a master of improvisation, as required of a setter. Among her specialties are delivering an off-speed hit, a delicate set or hustling for a dig at breakneck speed.

"She's a very controlled player, but she can also hype the team up," said seventh-year coach Jessica Ivey. "She tells them exactly what they're doing wrong, and she doesn't bite her tongue. Most of the time, she's absolutely on target."

She's also among the first to support a teammate after an error or to greet a successful point. Either way, she usually smiles, revealing a gold-capped, left front tooth with a shamrock engraved on it.

"I feel it's my role to control the game and basically set the tempo for the team," said Muse, an A student and co-captain with Natisha Johnson. "That's basically what I try to do when I'm out there."

When she isn't directing the team vocally, she displays the skills that only appear in scouting reports: savvy, sound defense and a knack for delivering the critical blow at the crucial moment.

Thursday, Muse displayed grace, resilience and motivational skills, anchoring the Knights in a 15-12, 11-15, 17-15, 15-4 victory over defending City-Wide volleyball champion Western.

The match -- City's first win over Western for the players on the Knights' senior-laden squad -- dropped the Doves to 5-1 in the City-Wide league, and put the Knights (6-0) in the driver's seat as they face Poly today.

"This was very important because we've never beaten them since I've been here," said Muse afterward. "We just want to keep the ball in play, and when their knees start getting weak, that's when we start to come back."

Muse, 4 feet 11, eschews the eye-popping moves of her teammates on the front line, Johnson (5-9), senior Tracey St. Louis (5-8) and sophomore hitter/setter Janette Jordan (5-11), whose leaping abilities rival the league's best.

But it was Muse's cross-court dink that helped City pull within 7-6 after trailing 2-0 and 7-4 in the first game.

Down as much as 6-0 in the second game, City rallied behind Muse, who tirelessly shoveled power shots off the floor or gently lifted sets to waiting teammates. Her service ace -- one of 12 -- cut the deficit to 12-11.

City trailed 15-14 in the third game when Muse served two straight aces before her third serve was mishandled by Western's Ayanna Jenkins for the winning point. Ahead 9-4 in the final game, Muse served for five straight points -- with two more aces -- to make it 14-4.

The Knights exacted their toll with superior serving, with Muse, St. Louis (21 of 25, 21 aces) and Cicely Crosby (12 of 17, 12 aces) also contributing.

As the league's new front-runners, the Knights are also thinking about playing in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's Class 4A playoffs.

"This is our first time experiencing this, so we really don't know what to feel," said Jordan, the MVP on last year' championship junior varsity squad.

Johnson thinks the Knights are mature enough to handle it.

"Last year, we'd get down 9-0 and be like, 'We ain't coming back.' But this year, I think we're coming in here wanting it a little bit more," said Johnson. "With each year, you're going to grow a little bit."

When the postseason begins, City, Western, Poly, Mervo and Lake Clifton will vie for the Region II title, along with Baltimore County's Perry Hall, Dulaney and Woodlawn and Prince George's County's Laurel and High Point.

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