No. 7 Key sweeps River Hill to win 1A South region title Eagles' trip to state tourney is their fourth straight

November 09, 1996|By Ed McDonough | Ed McDonough,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

On a night when Francis Scott Key didn't play its usual powerful, fluid volleyball game, the Eagles still breezed to the Class 1A South Region title.

The No. 7 Eagles swept past visiting River Hill, 15-5, 15-10, 15-7, to advance to the Class 1A state semifinal against the East Region winner Tuesday at Essex Community College. It will be Key's fourth straight trip to the state tourney.

Key may not have been as prepared for River Hill as it has been for other regional opponents. The Eagles' two previous games were against Monocacy Valley Athletic League foes, and the players may have been looking ahead to a rematch with Williamsport, which snuffed Key in the state championship match last year and handed it its only loss this season.

The Hawks, a first-year team with no seniors, entered the match with a 10-7 record. But what they lacked in height and experience they made up for with dogged defensive play.

"I think maybe we were looking past or looking behind," Eagles coach Leo Totten said. "To our credit, we won ugly, I think. We find a way to win."

The way to win last night was an assortment of short dinks and timely service aces.

The Eagles (15-1) opened an 8-0 lead in the first game, though both teams made several errors. The Hawks cut the margin to 8-5. But Erin Ness served seven straight points as Key took Game 1.

The teams battled evenly to start Game 2, and when River Hill's Shannon Patrick made the first of her three blocks against Key ace Stephanie Stambaugh, the score was tied at 4. A combination of receiving errors by the Hawks and some well-placed shots by the Eagles gave Key a 12-5 lead, but River Hill used the same method to close to 13-9.

The teams traded points before Ness served up the game-winner.

The clinching game was nip-and-tuck at the start, but Key broke free when Tammy Wilson served three straight points. Cindy Sheedy served two straight aces near the sideline. Then Ness and Stambaugh combined for a block and a point on the same rally to give the Eagles a 12-5 lead.

Stambaugh's dink off a quick set by Ness put Key ahead 13-6. Then Ness hit a dink to put the Eagles a point from victory.

Edgewood 3, Sparrows Point 2: Down 2-1 in games and 10-13 in the fourth, Edgewood rallied to pull out a 15-13 decision, then rolled past the Pointers, 6-15, 15-6, 11-15, 15-13, 15-4, for the Class 1A North region title.

Pub Date: 11/09/96

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