Comeback lifts Sherwood into final past Perry Hall Last momentum swing goes against No. 5 Gators

November 15, 1995|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

GAITHERSBURG -- Just when the momentum seemed completely gone in the fifth game, No. 5 Perry Hall snatched it back, but the momentum swing did not last long enough to carry the Gators to the state final.

Trailing 9-0 in that last game, the Gators (19-5) rebounded to lead 12-10 before Sherwood finally finished off its own remarkable comeback for a 10-15, 5-15, 15-5, 17-15, 15-12 victory in a state Class 4A semifinal last night at Watkins Mill High School.

"Perry Hall deserves a lot of credit," said Sherwood coach Steve Pisarski. "When you get a 2-0 lead, you lose two games and you're down 9-0 -- this is what I told my team in the huddle during the timeout, 'They've given up. If you stay on them right now, it's over.' For them to come back like that, I don't know if I'm playing if I can get myself up to come back like that."

The Gators tied it at 10 on one of Carin Moorefield's five kills in the game and then pulled ahead 12-10 on Beth Pancake's cross-court kill and Melissa Webster's ace. But that would be all the Gators could manage. A couple of kills from the Warriors' middle hitter Meredith Pine eventually finished off the match as well as Perry Hall's chances for its first appearance in the state final.

There was little consolation in the late comeback, because the Gators knew they had missed the chance to put away their Montgomery County opponents in the third game.

"We had it. It was ours," said Gators hitter Stephanie Sanzone. "I think we let up. We let them control the third, fourth and fifth game."

The Warriors (14-4) started off the match tired after Monday night's nearly three-hour five-game regional final against Quince Orchard, which had to be rescheduled after a power outage Saturday night.

Before they got their second wind in last night's two-hour-and-15-minute match, the Warriors had all kinds of trouble with their passing and serving. They couldn't get the ball to setter Christine Bessio to run their plays and they made six service errors on their first 10 rotations.

The Gators fell behind 10-6, but recovered to score nine straight points on Erica King's serve. Webster's kill off a Warriors' overpass finished off the first game. In the next game, the Gators ran up a 7-0 lead and cruised to a two-game lead.

In the third, the momentum gradually slipped away as the Warriors slowly build an 8-1 lead. Suddenly, the Gators struggled with their passing and setter Kim Opdyke (51 assists) had a hard time connecting with her hitters.

"We had to play the third game like we played the first two and we didn't," said Gators coach Pam Wilt. "We allowed them to change the momentum of the match."

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