Laws serves up a victory for Glenelg over Smithsburg Rally in first game leads to sweep in region final

November 08, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Glenelg coach Marlene Dugan spent some practice time Thursday working with senior Kim Laws on her serve.

The extra work didn't take long to pay dividends in last night's Class 1A South region championship against visiting Smithsburg Washington County.

With her team down 14-10 in the first game, Laws served two aces before Smithsburg called time out. Laws returned and served out the game, ending it with a powerful kill shot from the back.

The Gladiators rode the momentum from that game to a 16-14, 15-10, 15-7 victory and advanced to the state tournament for the fourth time in six years.

Glenelg, which won state titles in 1993 and 1995, will play Sparrows Point in Tuesday's semifinals at Essex Community College. Visiting Sparrows Point defeated Hereford, 16-14, 15-10, for the North region title.

Smithsburg (16-2) looked strong early, and took advantage of Glenelg mistakes to take leads of 7-3, 11-6 and finally, 14-10.

"It was very scary," said Laws, who finished with 14 kills, five point blocks and converted 15 of 17 serves, including four aces.

The Leopards served three times for the game, but failed. Laws, a 5-foot-9 senior middle hitter, then took over.

"I've never served like that in such a critical situation," Laws said. "I didn't think it could be done, but I did it."

Smithsburg looked stunned, but came back in the second game to take a 5-1 lead. Glenelg regained control of the game and the match with an eight-point run behind Laws' hitting and Nicole Barnoski's serving.

The Leopards failed to win a point on their last seven serves, and the Gladiators (13-5) closed out the game on a point block by Laws.

Glenelg took advantage of more Smithsburg mistakes in the third game and never was in trouble.

"I don't know if we really expected that from this team," said Smithsburg junior middle hitter Carey Brennan about the Gladiators. "They played better than we thought."

Laws was the catalyst -- "Kim showed a lot of leadership and played smart in critical situations," Dugan said -- but had plenty of support.

"It was a good team effort," Dugan added.

Jamie Bullock had 10 kills, and Barnoski was perfect on 19 serves (including five aces). Chrissy Mills, Pam Goldberg, Vicki Bennett and Laurie Driver also played well.

Driver has replaced starter Arney Walker, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in a quarterfinal playoff match.

Four of Glenelg's players -- Laws, Bennett, Goldberg and Bullock -- were on the state championship team two years ago.

Pub Date: 11/08/97

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