Francis Scott Key is no match for Williamsport in 1A, Region II

November 14, 1992|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

WILLIAMSPORT -- Williamsport scored the first 11 points of its volleyball match with Francis Scott Key. The Eagles, on the other hand, scored eight points the entire match.

Defending state champion and top seed Williamsport dominated play throughout on the way to a 15-1, 15-2, 15-5 victory over second seed Francis Scott Key in the Class 1A, Region II title match last night.

Williamsport (14-2) advances to the state semifinals on Tuesday at Centennial High. This is Williamsport's third straight regional title, and the Wildcats are shooting for their fourth state title in six years.

Francis Scott Key finished at 11-6. The Eagles finished third in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. It was the first time a Key volleyball team won more than nine matches.

The Wildcats grabbed control of the match -- which lasted 42 minutes -- from the start. Key didn't score two points in a row until it trailed, 5-0, in the third game.

With Becky Stephens serving and Carla Houser controlling play at the net, Williamsport reeled off 11 straight points to open the match. Francis Scott Key coach Leo Totten tried to stop the run by calling two timeouts, but nothing worked.

Kristi Stambaugh put Key on the board with a kill. But the Wildcats scored four straight for the victory. Houser closed out the game with another kill.

Williamsport had won a tough five-game match with Boonsboro in the regional semifinal. The Wildcats did not want a repeat performance against Key.

"From the beginning of the match, we were intense," said the 6-foot-2 Houser, who had eight kills and four blocks. "Tonight, we decided we were going to play with our hearts."

Williamsport coach Cindy Neugebauer said the Boonsboro match shook her players up -- in a positive way.

"Tuesday night [against Boonsboro] was a wake-up call," she said. "I told them if they played like they did Tuesday, it would be over."

Key lost to Williamsport in the regular season, 15-11, 15-10, 15-3. Totten said he thought his team could stay with the Wildcats.

Totten said, however, he also worried about how the Wildcats would react to the Boonsboro match.

"I was afraid this was going to happen," said Totten. "They came ready to play. They were hot, and we weren't."

Williamsport rarely made errors. Houser was a force at the net throughout the match. Stephens played well all over the court, and Jessica Benchoff [eight assists] repeatedly made good sets for Houser.

Another spark for Williamsport was the sight of players from Clear Spring walking into the gym during the first game. Houser said watching Clear Spring, which defeated Williamsport in the regular season, fired the players up.

And, so, there was little Key could do. The second game was much like the first. Williamsport scored the first 10 points and coasted to a 15-2 victory.

Both of Key's points came on Williamsport errors.

Key made the final game more interesting. The Eagles fell behind, 5-0, cut the lead to 5-3 and later 11-5.

Williamsport closed out the match with four straight points. Houser gave Williamsport the regional title with an ace.

Neugebauer said watching this match was a pleasure.

"It was one of our best matches of the season," she said.

Shelley Smith passed well for Key, and Jenny Baker served well. Baker served during the Eagles' best run of the night, a three-point stretch in the final game. Stambaugh also played well at times at the net.

Totten told his team not to be disappointed, because it merely ran into a hot team. This was one of Key's best seasons, and he said he told the team to be proud of its effort.

"We have a lot to be thankful for," said Totten. "We were just a half-step behind."

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