Stambaugh sparks Key victory Senior records 23 kills in win over Smithsburg

November 07, 1996|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Every time Francis Scott Key needed a critical point in last night's Class 1A South Region semifinal, there was Stephanie Stambaugh to deliver.

The senior co-captain, and last year's Carroll County Player of the Year, recorded 23 kills and seven solo blocks to lead the Eagles to a 15-12, 8-15, 15-10, 15-1 victory over Monocacy Valley Athletic League rival Smithsburg in a rematch of last year's region final.

The four-game victory moves the seventh-ranked Eagles (15-1) into tomorrow's region final, where they will face River Hill.

"I think this is the best game I've ever played in my life," said Stambaugh. "We already played this team so we knew where they hit and what they could hit. We moved our blocks in and we covered everything."

The Eagles' 5-1 offense sputtered at times in the opening game, but the hosts still managed to escape with a 3-point victory.

The Eagles opened up a 7-0 lead in the second game but that margin quickly vanished. Smithsburg took advantage of Key's miscommunication on defense and took a 9-8 lead on a net violation. . Smithsburg (13-3), which bowed to the Eagles in a controversial five-game match earlier this year, ran off the final six points to knot the match at one.

The Leopards of Washington County found themselves trailing Key 10-3 in Game 3 following Cindy Sheedy's third ace of the game.

The Eagles increased their advantage to 13-6 before getting stuck on 13. Smithsburg closed to within 13-10 but the Eagles' power at the net, namely Sheedy and Stambaugh, enabled star setter Erin Ness (31 assists) to serve out the game's final two points, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead in the match.

"We knew Smithsburg was tough, and they battled back again. But this time, after they lost the second game, the girls relaxed and didn't let it bother them," said Eagles coach Leo Totten.

"This was the best defensive game we played all year."

Six straight kills by Stambaugh sent the Eagles to a 10-0 lead in the final game and helped set up Sheedy's game-winning dink.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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