Liberty has a solid group of returning players from the team that went to the Class 3A state semifinals in volleyball last year, but if the Lions thought they were going to simply ease into this season, they have already been hit with a sense of reality.
Urbana pinned a 3-0 defeat on the Lions in the opening match for both schools, winning, 15-13, 15-12, 15-10. "We blocked well and played good defense, but we couldn't keep the ball in the court," coach Dave Trumbo said.
There was a 3-1 victory over South Carroll last week, but the team was put to another severe test Monday night at home against Thomas Johnson. Liberty prevailed in the fifth game, 15-12.
"After winning the first two games [15-7, 15-13], [Thomas Johnson] started passing better and we became tentative," Trumbo said of the 15-9, 15-7 rally that tied the match. "They run an attacking offense, and needed to pass well to make it effective.
"We had dominated the net in the first two games, and Abby Barnett just took over the last game." Barnett, a senior, and returning starter at middle hitter, finished with 13 service points, 12 kills, and eight blocks.
Under the new "rally scoring" rule in effect this year, a point is awarded on each serve in the fifth game, so players are trying to make sure they get their serves in play. "An easy serve becomes a pass up to the front line and an overhead smash.
"No more than one point separated the two until senior Stephanie Wilder, who had 10 kills, served an ace for 10-8. Theresea Jason, our junior setter in her first varsity season, and growing into her role, did a good job in this game. She got the ball to Barnett, and it seemed to rub off on the others, as they passed well, too."
The score went to 11-9, and Cheryl McGee, a senior back-row player with an excellent serve, helped the Lions reach 14-9.
After one week, Francis Scott Key and North Carroll are the county's remaining undefeated teams. Key reached 3-0 when it overwhelmed Perry Hall in three straight games. North Carroll (2-0) turned back visiting Urbana, 3-2, getting a 15-9 decision in the fifth game.
Tomorrow, Key is at Walkersville, Frederick at Liberty, North Carroll at Linganore, South Carroll at Thomas Johnson, and Westminster at Urbana.
On the alumni front
At Salisbury State, junior David Johnson (Westminster) is a starting back on the men's soccer team, and sisters Katie and Erin Watson (Hampstead/Franklin) are getting playing time with the women's soccer team. Katie is a senior forward, and Erin, a transfer from Villa Julie, is a junior forward with a goal and an assist.
At York College, Laurie Meadows (Liberty) is one of five freshmen playing well for the 5-2 volleyball team.
Defensive back Tom Lapato, a senior from Mount Airy (South Carroll), won the $10,000 Burger King College Football Scholar-Athlete of the Week award last week, becoming the season's first Division III winner. The money will go to the school's general scholarship fund.
Lapato, a two-time Green Terror co-captain, carries a 4.0 grade-point average as a mathematics and computer science major, with a minor in art history. Last year the 6-foot, 200-pound player earned second-team all-Centennial Conference honors on the field and second-team GTE Academic All-America honors in the classroom.
Pub Date: 9/16/98