Key, Williamsport to play title game full of intrigue Eagles face rich tradition in volleyball state final

November 17, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

After the undefeated and No. 6 Francis Scott Key Eagles easily swept past Richardson in the Class 1A state semifinal Wednesday afternoon, one question remained: Who's next?

Williamsport, Key's Washington County rival from the Monocacy Valley Athletic League, provided a swift answer with a three-game sweep of its own against host Rising Sun on Wednesday night.

Tomorrow afternoon's Class 1A state title match, set for 2:30 at Catonsville Community College, brings plenty of intrigue.

The Eagles come in on a season-long roll, winners of 18 straight matches, including a 16-14, 15-7, 15-11 win at Williamsport on Oct. 26 that clinched the MVAL title.

The Wildcats (15-3) have tradition on their side, having won nine state titles and appeared in 14 finals. Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree believes her team's trip to Catonsville last season -- a loss to Clear Spring -- is a definite advantage.

"We have five seniors who were all there and took part last year. It's a lot different than playing in a small high school gym," she said.

"The state championship is on the line Saturday. Hopefully that's enough to motivate the girls to avenge the loss."

In the regular-season meeting, Key rallied from a 14-6 deficit in the first game and came back again in the third. Coach Leo Totten said the Eagles played one of their stronger all-around games. Setter Erin Ness had 19 assists and the Eagles served at a 90 percent clip. Stephanie Stambaugh came up with 12 kills and Cindy Sheedy added eight.

"We knew Stephanie was their big gun, but Sheedy took us by surprise. She really killed us," Crabtree said.

Totten said, "First of all, we were able to keep up our intensity. We put together a real nice team effort and that's been the case all year long.

"Over the years, they've beaten us pretty consistently, so it was sweet to go there and beat them to wrap up the MVAL title."

While Totten believes that sweep will bring a definite advantage going into tomorrow's final, his Eagles will not be underestimating the Wildcats.

"We know they'll be competitive and come ready. Hopefully, so will we," he said. "They're very experienced, well coached and disciplined."

But Williamsport will not be at 100 percent.

Senior hitters Lea Andrews (sprained knee) and Kim Reid (sprained ankle) are both hurting. Andrews played sparingly against Rising Sun and Reid will try to give it a go tomorrow.

Senior setter Karen Moyer is the Wildcats' floor leader. Junior Ann Fulk picked up the slack in the absence of Andrews and Reid, with Crabtree also relying on senior hitter Misty Myers.

There's a lot more to the Eagles' lineup than just Stambaugh and Sheedy. Junior Nicole Keffer had 10 kills Wednesday against Richardson with senior tri-captain Ericka Rutzebeck putting down nine. The consistent setting of Ness has made it easy on the Key hitters. Fellow senior tri-captains Kristy Hollman and Amy Brooks provide valuable experience.

The Eagles will be going after their fourth state title. Their last came in 1986.

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