Mistakes, Laws' injury prove costly to Glenelg Gladiators' 33 errors open door for Mt. Savage

1A Volleyball

November 16, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

The kill shot from Glenelg's Kim Laws landed as it should have -- on the floor. Unfortunately, Laws finished the play the same way -- on the floor, her face in pain as she held her left ankle.

It happened in the fourth game of yesterday's Class 1A state championship against Mount Savage at Catonsville Coummunity College. The Gladiators, trailing by a game, led at the time, 8-7.

Glenelg gamely built the lead to 12-8, but -- as it can in volleyball -- the momentum quickly changed. Mount Savage began to win point after point. Laws, her eyse filled with tears, could only sit and watch from the far end of the bench, a large bag of ice tapped around her ankle and her mother's arm wrapped around her shoulder.

Mount Savage won its fourth state title -- and its first since 1983 -- with a 11-15, 15-9, 15-11, 15-12 victory.

"We were just pesky. We didn't go away," said Mount Savage coach Joanne Nickel, now in her 26th season at the Allegany County school."

And the Indians (20-0) didn't make nearly as many mistakes. Glenelg had 33 errors compared to seven for Mount Savage.

"It's the team that makes the least amount of mistakes that wins," said Glenelg senior Pam Goldberg, "and they made less than we did."

The third-ranked Gladiators played better yesterday then they did against Sparrows Point in Tuesday's semifinal match. But they were unable to regain their magic of a week ago when they played perhaps their best match of the season in the region champoinship against Smithsburg.

"Sometimes it just doesn't happen," said Laws as to why her team did not play better.

"We made too many mistakes," said Glenelg coach Marlene Dugan, who won state titles in 1993 and 1995 at Glenelg but will not return next year because she is expecting her first child in February. "They were more consistent the we were."

Dugan said part of her team's problems was Mount Savage's defense.

"They play a different defense that we hadn't seen all season," Dugan said. "We just didn't make adjustments. A lot of balls that we normally hit for winners they put back over."

Laws, as she has done all season, played well. The senior connected on 41 of 50 hits and had 20 kills.

Glenelg fell behind 6-2, 8-3 and 10-6 in the first game. But the Gladiators rallied behind the serving of Laws and Vicki Bennett to win the game.

Mount Savage took a 6-0 lead in the second game and never looked back. In the third game, Mount Savage trailed 5-4 before winning nine of the next 10 points.

Dugan was proud of the way her team battled in the fourth game when Laws went out. "They didn't shut down just because she wasn't out there," she said.

But Laws' hitting and leadership were just too valuable to lose.

The Gladiators had a good season, but their play wasn't up to championship caliber at the end.

"Overall I'm pleased with the season," Dugan said. "We're proud to get here, but disappointed that we didn't play our best. We have the skills to play a much better match. Chalk it up to mental toughness."

Did Glenelg take Mount Savage, the state's third smallest high school with 38 seniors, too lightly?

"We were really pumped up for this, but maybe we could have been a little more serious about things," Laws said.

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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