Wright hopes to serve up payback to Bel Air Last year's loss is not forgotten

October 11, 1992|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

The outcome of last year's decisive match with Bel Air is still fresh in the minds of the C. Milton Wright girls volleyball players.

The Mustangs lost, 16-14, in the fifth game after leading 14-12. Chris Fleckenstein won it for Bel Air with four straight service points.

The Bobcats went on to win the county title and finish 11-3 overall. C. Milton Wright ended 10-5 after seeing its string of losses to Bel Air extended to eight years.

Now, each will carry an 8-0 overall record into Tuesday's match (4:45 p.m.) at Bel Air.

C. Milton Wright, No. 8 in the latest Baltimore Sun poll, has swept six of its foes, 3-0, and Bel Air, five. The Bobcats, unranked in the poll, had its toughest match Tuesday against Loch Raven, winning 15-12, in the fifth game, with no more than three points deciding the winner in the past four.

A combination of playing eight or nine players a lot and losing only one senior enabled Wright coach Bonnie Fry to start with an experienced team.

It is in the process of becoming better with the addition of two players, Lissa Leiter, a senior who played at North Hagerstown last year, and foreign exchange student Christine Kiebe from Germany.

"They have had a positive impact on our team," said DeAnna Drecchio, a sophomore veteran. "In the beginning, it was rocky, but we helped each other, and by the time we got into our matches, I think we had good teamwork."

Another half-dozen regulars -- including seniors Carin Gorrell, Debbie Keiser, Kellie Reuschling and Christine Savage -- confirmed this, pointing to better serving and setting by more players as one of the key factors.

"Last year, one or two would set well; now everybody does it," said Fry. "And we have better height, which translates to better blocking."

The caliber of her talent has forced Fry to seek out drills calling for a higher skill level than in the past, as she looks for ways to bring out the best in her players. All play the game in the off-season, and Keiser, Gorrell and Reuschling were in a Junior Olympic program during the summer.

With 23 players, Fry has split them into two groups, and as Drecchio said, "I like it this way because there is more individual work and we can concentrate on developing our skills."

One of the skills the team has is the ability of the players to get along together.

"Everybody helps everybody else," Drecchio said. "If something's wrong, we'll know and will try to help. We are all good friends, on and off the court."

Of the two newcomers, Fry said, "Leiter came with good skills, especially as a setter, and Kiebe is an outstanding hitter."

The school usually has two or three exchange students each year, and Kiebe, who had been away from the game for four years, came out when she decided she wanted to play a sport.

One thing several players mentioned was the fact the overall improved level of play in the county has helped them, because the team has a tendency to play at its opposition's level rather than its own.

Gorrell, a middle hitter and blocker, has a serve percentage of .950, but says she prefers hitting. And Reuschling provides an added dimension as a left-hander, a factor that has created problems for some opposing teams.

The players are united in declaring that the work is hard, but the resulting skill level is high, and they do have a lot of fun.

"We just function so well together -- powerful and consistent," Savage said, "and we're capable of anything."

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