Glenelg spikes St. Mary's, earns place in state semis 2A South volleyball

November 12, 1993|By Michael Richman | Michael Richman,Contributing Writer

She hesitated at first, but Glenelg volleyball coach Marlene Janis acknowledged her season-long certainty of the Gladiators returning to the state tournament.

Her comment came after No. 6 Glenelg provided the exclamation point with a 15-7, 15-10, 15-8 sweep of its match with Great Mills of St. Mary's County in the 2A South championship yesterday.

"I was pretty confident that we would get there and I feel that we'll do better than last year," she said. "I also feel we have the skill and talent to at least make it to the finals."

Last year meant a loss to eventual state champion Mount Hebron in the state semifinals. Now, when the Gladiators (15-2) compete in the 2A state semifinal at Rising Sun High in Cecil County on Tuesday, they can advance one more step and maybe even win the state title, as Janis believes they can.

"This year's team is a lot quicker with better setters," said senior Marisa Davidson, a 6-foot outside hitter who had a team-high six kills against Great Mills (11-6).

In the first and third games, host Glenelg built sizable leads for eventual wins. A 5-0 second-game deficit put the Gladiators into a hole, which they escaped with six straight points.

With junior Jamie Marshall serving, Glenelg led 7-0 in the first game. Davidson's kill stretched the lead to 13-2, but the Hornets recovered to pull within 14-7. Glenelg junior setter Susan Geisler then forced a side out before her kill ended the game.

After the Gladiators fell behind in the second game, serving by Marshall, Geisler, Davidson and senior Emily Kessler helped them regain the lead for good at 7-6. Five straight points, including two through Kessler's serving, put Glenelg up 11-6. The Hornets later trailed 14-10, but their service error hindered a comeback, as Geisler's ace again made the final point.

"We knew during the warm-up that they were very good and we had to come in with a lot more confidence than them," Geisler said. "We wanted to let out all our stuff on the court."

The Gladiators' intensity continued in the finale. They opened an 11-0 lead, as Kessler served for eight of those points. Great Mills, scoring eight of the next 10, closed to 13-8. After a side out, though, sophomore Elisa Davidson's kill and a Great Mills' hitting error ended the match and proved Janis' intuition right.

"This year, we have a very well-rounded team, very good setting, passing, hitting and serving," she said, knowing that last year's 13-5 Gladiators were young and untested.

Glenelg's depth was evident through Marisa Davidson's kills, Marshall's crisp passing, Kessler's three point blocks and three aces, two kills apiece by Geisler and outside hitter Kerry Rutter, and Elisa Davidson's two aces.

Kessler's defense was solid, and Janis commented on how her middle hitter "ruffled the feathers" of the Hornets' best player, senior setter Cheryl Rothwell (team-high eight kills).

That Great Mills' twice trimmed huge differences is something the Gladiators will work to correct, Janis said.

"We relaxed just a little too much," she said.

"Especially in that third game, having two wins and knowing that we needed just one."

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