No. 5 Perry Hall rallies to spike Dulaney for title Gators overcome deficit in first game, then roll

November 11, 1995|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The bigger the challenge, the better No. 5 Perry Hall seems to play.

Last night, the Gators had to put together one of their best matches of the season to beat No. 11 Dulaney, 16-14, 15-1, 15-3, for the Class 4A North region championship.

The hosts (19-4) recovered from a 12-7 first-game deficit to avenge last year's regional playoff loss to the Lions (13-5). The win also made up for some less-than-stellar outings against weaker regional foes earlier this week.

"You definitely play up to teams and you can play down to teams," said Perry Hall setter Kim Opdyke. "Dulaney hustled and they made us play our game. We realized as soon as we hit at them, they were going to give it right back to us."

The Gators advance to the state semifinals for the first time in three years and will play Tuesday night at Watkins Mill High School in Montgomery County.

Last night, the critical play for Perry Hall came with the Lions leading 12-9 in the first game. Erica King pounded down a kill off a Lions' overpass. Dulaney coach Dan Overtoom quickly called a timeout, but the momentum already had switched to the Gators.

"When Erica hit that happy-birthday ball," said Perry Hall's Melissa Webster, "that's when Kim said the momentum's ours and that's when we just got up and we wouldn't stop."

Still the Lions continued to battle, eventually taking a 14-11 lead. They served for the game twice, but Webster fired a kill down the line for a side out and the Gators pulled within 14-13 on Stephanie Sanzone's kill. After another side out, Mandy Heagy's serve landed wide and the Gators went on to win the game on a Opdyke ace.

Dulaney, which played exceptionally well in running up its 12-7 lead, made a few mental mistakes that let the Gators back into the game, said Overtoom.

"When you get a team like that on the ropes, you've got to put them away. You can't let them hang around. Once they came back and won that, they took away all our momentum and just rolled."

The only points Dulaney scored in the final two games came on aces, including two by Jill McCormack to take a 3-1 lead in the third game.

By then, Perry Hall's offense was in cruise control. King and Beth Pancake finished with six kills each, Sanzone added five, and Webster and Opdyke had four each. Opdyke also had 22 assists.

While the Gators ran their offense smoothly all night, Dulaney struggled after taking the early lead. The Lions had so much trouble passing and setter Dawn Will had to chase the ball so much, she usually couldn't connect with the big hitters, Tracy Miksis (five kills) and Heagy (four).

"Passing was a problem," said Overtoom, "and after a few passes didn't get up to the net, our setter got frustrated and started to take things into her own hands.

"Then, settable balls weren't being set, and you can't give Perry Hall free balls or they'll set it up and spike it down your throat and that's what ended up happening."

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