North East's many returns prove taxing on Atholton Raiders find no answer for mistake-free defense

2A volleyball

November 17, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | By Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

They all came back. Dinks and kill shots alike. No matter what Atholton hit against North East yesterday in the Class 2A state volleyball championship, the ball was returned.

"I don't think we've seen a defense like that all season," said Atholton senior setter Erin Shaw. "Even when they shanked the ball, somebody was there. When we thought the play was over, they were there. It was amazing."

It also was the difference in the Cecil County school winning their fifth title, 15-7, 10-15, 15-11, 15-13, at Catonsville Community College.

"They had us on our heels all day," said Atholton first-year coach Mike Kalinock. "They were digging everything, and they didn't make mistakes."

Atholton (15-6) looked tentative and nervous at the start, and fell behind, 6-0. The Raiders recovered and tied the game at 7-all, but resorted back to their lackluster start and dropped the next ++ eight points.

"We got desperate, and when we get desperate, it's all over," said Atholton senior Madigan Marth, who finished with nine kills. "Something wasn't clicking. We seemed to be scrambling a lot."

Shaw, who had trouble setting early because of the tight officiating, established a state record in the second game by winning 13 points on her serve. The previous mark of 11 was held by Centennial's Krisha Svehla (11, 1994).

Athough Atholton won the second game, it's chances to win the match were hurt when senior Jessica Edwards re-injured her right knee diving for a ball. Edwards was kicked in the right knee during Wednesday's semifinal win.

"If I was fine, we would have won," said Edwards, who finished with a team-high 13 kills. "I lost 10 inches on my vertical jump. I was struggling, trying to adjust because my knee was bothering me."

Atholton fell behind, 7-0, in the third game, but behind the serving of Marth ran off five straight points to tie the game, 10-all. Davis earned a side out for North East, and the Indians (19-0) won the next three points.

North East took an 11-3 lead in the fourth game, but Atholton, behind the hitting of Marth, tied the game at 13-all.

North East earned the side out and the next point when Atholton could not return the ball in three hits. The Raiders hit the ball into the net on match point.

"We had to play our best," said Kalinock, "and we didn't do that until the fourth game. By then it was too late. There was a lot of hesitation on our part today. It seemed people were waiting for somebody else to make the play."

There were three other state records set in the match. Atholton has the highest serving percentage, .974 (75 of 77), breaking Mount Hebron's .959 percentage of last year. Christy Mann of North East won 22 service points, breaking the old mark of 19, and Shaw and Mann joined three other players with a perfect serving percentage (based on 20 plus attempts). Mann had 26 and Shaw 23.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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