Wright earns trip to state semifinals

November 12, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

C. Milton Wright and Bel Air have had problems with pre-match tightness in the past, but last night Wright did the better job of not letting this affect its play.

The Mustangs scored a four-game victory and secured the Class 3A North regional championship at Bel Air High School.

The win sends Wright (10-6) to the state semifinals for the first time. A Class 3A doubleheader is scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday at LaPlata (5 p.m. and 7 p.m.).

The visitors, who had won the first and third games, rallied from 8-11 to get a tie at 11 on the serving of Heather Ruleau in the fourth one. Moments later, from 11-12, senior Kate Corea, with an unorthodox sidearm delivery, served out the match, winning the first two points when the Bobcats were unable to get a return and clinching it with an ace.

It completed a 15-7, 13-15, 15-5, 15-12 triumph.

"It's natural for me, because I can't serve overhand very well," Corea said of her motion. "With it, though, I get a lot of spin on the ball." The Mustangs had won four points on her serve before the final run.

C.M. Wright coach Bonnie Fry, in her 13th season, "We're a tense group. We played Monday, there was no school Tuesday, we played Wednesday, and they didn't want to practice Thursday.

"We ran through some drills, though, probably less than hour. It wasn't very good, but I just let them go. Especially in this situation, you have to let them relax."

As far as junior Maureen Regan is concerned, the team took the attitude of "a new beginning," in the regionals. The Mustangs registered 3-0 victories over Dundalk and Patapsco to reach the final, and there, Regan was particularly effective as a server and consistent in her overall play.

Both teams went into the match playing much better than earlier in the season. Bel Air, in fact, came back from a 1-5 mark to finish 10-7 for first-year coach Amy Kunkle.

This was largely on the play of senior captain and hitter Amy Whitsel and senior setter Robyn Kekauoha -- "A natural, who can pretty much do anything she wants," Kunkle said -- who had outstanding seasons.

And last night, Kunkle said, Diana Little came in to help set in the last game and for the match wound up with the best defensive game she's ever played.

"We came along to play better as a team, a lot better," said Whitsel. "We were tense. Maybe we wanted it too much. Sometimes when that happens, you try too hard, and things just don't go right."

One thing that didn't go right was the team's court sense. "Our biggest problem was a lack of back-row communication," Kunkle said, recalling several times the ball had dropped untouched between players.

"Part of our problem was we had beaten them before [in four games], so we knew we could do it.

"Then, in our earlier regional matches, we had won in four games and in five, and they weren't tough games, so I guess the players thought they could go out in that third one this time, maybe, and ease through it. At this level, though, you have to go out and play hard all the time.

"For this match, we had too many mistakes, but overall I couldn't have asked for much more."

As for Wright, "We're just playing much better together now -- serving and passing," Fry said.

C. Milton Wright's best previous playoff effort was a regional final loss at Catonsville two years ago.

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