McDonogh's hot serving brings title Eagles take AIS A crown over Friends in 4 games

November 02, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

McDonogh served up 16 aces last night to spark a 15-13, 15-12, 7-15, 15-9 victory over Friends for the Association of Independent Schools A Division championship.

The host Eagles (24-4) took an early lead in each game and fell behind by more than a point only once, in the third game.

"Our serving was the difference," said Eagles coach Ginger Gelston. "The fact that we had 16 aces -- that makes a huge difference. We had more aces than missed serves. That's probably a first."

When the Eagles weren't winning points with their serves, they used their balanced attack. Aisha Mason had six kills while Leah Clelland, Anne Gormley and Jazmine Norton had three each.

The Quakers (12-4) have now been A Division runners-up three straight years, but coach Staci Barbero's squad this year was her youngest. The Quakers rallied in every game, but didn't have quite enough to finish off the Eagles.

"I'm not disappointed at all," said Quakers setter Kirsten Campbell. "We worked hard all season. We're stronger, faster and we jump higher and we finished out great."

The Quakers' big spurt came in the third game behind the underhand serve of Amanda Brainerd. The Eagles struggled to handle her soft lobs as Friends won 10 straight points on her serve to take an 11-6 lead.

After Gormley's kill pulled the Eagles within 11-7, Mimosa Cejku finished off the game with an ace and help from a Campbell tip.

The Quakers rallied early in the fourth game to pull even at 5 and at 7, but the Eagles finished off the match with superior net play by Mason, Clelland and Laura Babkes. Friends also missed its last two serves to help the Eagles.

Anouk Erni led the Quakers with seven kills.

The Eagles' title capped off a season in which they went 13-0 against AIS competition. They also defeated defending champ Notre Dame Prep in the semifinals, avenging their loss in last year's tournament semifinal.

Gelston had 14 players on the roster and used all of them last night and throughout the season.

"This year, we had better team chemistry," said Mason. "When you have a large roster, people usually don't think that's a good idea, but it works to our advantage."

Chapelgate 3, St. Paul's 2: The Flames swept St. Paul's in their earlier meeting but needed two hours and eight minutes to shake the Gators, 12-15, 15-11, 13-15, 15-13, 15-7, for the B Division title last night at McDonogh.

The Gators took a 7-2 lead in the final game, but the Flames rallied and scored the final nine points of the match, helped by four aces from Jennie Van Ness and two from Sue Huber.

Van Ness led the Flames (13-4) with 10 kills while Elizabeth Klein had seven. Micah Cunningham had 10 kills for the Gators (6-8).

Pub Date: 11/02/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.