F.S. Key's dream season comes to unhappy end Williamsport gets drop on Eagles to take title

November 19, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The smiles that constantly covered the volleyball court throughout Francis Scott Key's incredible, season-long run didn't accompany the Eagles to Catonsville Community College yesterday afternoon.

It was this group's first trip to the Class 1A state title match and there was way too much on the line to leave any time for joking around.

And while it was apparent the Eagles were in unfamiliar territory, their opponent, Williamsport, which had gone through the Catonsville experience last season in a loss against Clear Spring, appeared right at home.

The Wildcats avenged a regular-season sweep by Key, earning their seventh state title with a 15-11, 15-13, 11-15, 15-7 win over an Eagles team that lost for the first time this season.

"What happened to Francis Scott Key today happened to us last year. You can't trade experience for anything. Even though we lost last year, it definitely helped us," said Williamsport coach Emily Crabtree.

Francis Scott Key coach Leo Totten did everything he could to get his Eagles ready -- including a visit to the Catonsville gym on Friday -- but it didn't offset the valuable experience the veteran Wildcats (15-3) gained last year.

"You've got to play your game and we didn't," Totten said. "It's not a good way to end the season, but you can't take away the success we had. The one last step didn't quite happen."

With four junior starters, the Eagles won 14 straight regular-season matches to win the Monocacy Valley Athletic League title, swept through the mid-season county tournament and yielded just one game in four playoff matches to reach the state finals.

The Wildcats also learned from their loss against Key on Oct. 26 and made the necessary adjustments yesterday. Lea Andrews, Kim Reid and Misty Myers did a fine job blocking against Key's big hitter Stephanie Stambaugh and the Wildcats mixed it up offensively to keep the Eagles off-balance throughout.

"We've started slow many times before and always came back," said Francis Scott Key senior Ericka Rutzebeck. "We didn't pull off that first game like we've done before, that hurt."

Key took a 6-0 lead in the second game behind a couple of aces from senior Amy Brooks, two kills from junior Cindy Sheedy and another from junior Nicole Keffer, but the Wildcats got back in the game with five straight points. The Wildcats led 14-13 when Angie Heil and Kim Reid combined to block a Stambaugh hit.

The Eagles came back to win the third game with every point well earned. Junior Cindy Sheedy had four kills in the game and Nicole Keffer closed it out with an ace.

Senior Kristy Caldwell had four straight aces to give the Eagles a 7-6 lead, but Williamsport answered with nine straight points on Ann Fulk's serve to close out the match. Fulk had four aces during the stretch and a kill from Reid gave the Wildcats the title.

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