Glenelg puts finishing touch on Loch Raven Gladiators pushed to 5 games in win 2A volleyball

November 18, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

NORTH EAST -- No. 4 Glenelg took a long time to finish what it started against No. 3 Loch Raven last night.

After winning the first two games of their state Class 2A volleyball semifinal last night at Rising Sun High School, the Gladiators (16-2) needed another hour and 20 minutes to put away the Raiders.

The young Raiders (16-2) would not go quietly, but Glenelg survived in a 17-15, 15-5, 9-15, 8-15, 15-5 victory that lasted 2 1/2 hours.

Saturday, the Gladiators will go after their first state title. At noon,they play North Hagerstown, which defeated top seed and No. 7 South River, 15-6, 15-3, 8-15, 15-7, in the other semifinal.

Gladiators captain Marisa Davidson said winning last night's tight match can only help her team Saturday.

"This tells us that we can do anything," said Davidson, who had a match-high 26 kills. "Even if they beat us bad in two games, we can still come back. We can still win."

Early on, the Raiders could not stop Davidson, a 6-foot outside hitter, who had five kills in the first game and nine more in the second. The Loch Raven blockers committed too early against her and Davidson placed her hits down the line where the Raiders had trouble returning them.

"Marisa hits harder than anybody we've played against," said Raiders setter Shannon Towner. "And she has a hang time that's hard to compensate for."

After a couple games, however, the Raiders caught on.

Towner (5-10) and Kelly Powell (6 feet) had several blocks on Davidson and the Raiders' back-row defense returned almost everything that got by the net.

"They started getting every single ball up," said Davidson. "We got caught on free balls. They had one good hitter, but they sent a lot of free balls and that can catch us off balance."

In the third game, the Raiders ran up an 8-1 lead on some great defense as well as kills by Powell and Towner.

The Gladiators pulled within 8-7 when Davidson nailed a kill off an overpass. Davidson's ace and an unreachable Loch Raven pass into the net brought the Gladiators even at 9.

Powell's kill forced a side-out, and the Raiders scored the last six points of the game -- half on Glenelg errors. The momentum remained in the Raiders' camp, and they never trailed in the fourth game.

In the fifth game, however, the Gladiators rebounded.

"We decided, especially the seniors, that we weren't going to end our season the way we did last year," said Glenelg hitter Kerry Rutter of a loss to Mount Hebron in last year's state semifinal. "In the third and fourth games, we hesitated a little instead of going out there as aggressively as we could."

As they had in the first two games, the Gladiators took advantage of Loch Raven errors and jumped out to a 9-4 lead and never looked back.

Despite the loss, Raiders coach Carol McPherson said she could not have been happier about the way her young team has played all year.

"At the beginning of the season, they couldn't pass the ball back and forth," said McPherson.

"We lost 10 seniors from last year and didn't have a single starter out there. I was just hoping for a .500 season."

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