Western too strong for Poly Gaskins drives balanced attack to 4-game victory

November 05, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

A balanced Western attack led by Selina Gaskins proved too much for Poly as the Doves defeated the Engineers, 15-6, 19-17, 10-15, 15-3, for their third straight Baltimore City championship yesterday.

Gaskins, a senior middle hitter, had 13 kills, only one fewer than the entire Poly team.

Ericka Butler and Joycia Gorham had eight kills each for the Doves, and Keisha Chapman added seven. Setter Jazziel Granada kept the Doves' attack running smoothly the entire match.

The Doves (14-1) have now won seven city titles in the 1990s and 12 since the championship's inaugural season in 1975. Poly's last title came in 1990.

Not only did the Engineers (11-5) have trouble defending against the Doves' strong inside-outside attack yesterday, but they also made many unforced errors, especially early in the match.

The Engineers' best offensive weapon was their serve. They won 17 points on aces, including nine in the third game -- the only game they won.

In the pivotal part of the match -- the end of the second game -- the Engineers struggled with serving and passing and squandered a 14-10 lead.

The Doves erased that lead as Chapman served a five-point run, helped by two Gaskins' kills. On Kezia Snyder's serve, Poly pulled ahead 16-15 when Western made a couple of mistakes.

Western pulled ahead on a Gaskins point block and a Gorham kill before another Western mistake knotted the score at 17.

Poly served for the game for a third time, but a shanked pass gave the Doves the ball back. They finished off the game on a Poly hitting error and an ace by Gorham.

"That was the key to the match right there -- when we let that one get away," said Poly coach Norman Perry. "It's pretty tough knowing [that] on the other side they can afford to lose one, but you can't afford to lose one."

Still, the Engineers did not give up on the match. Although the Doves appeared to have enough momentum to cruise to a sweep, Poly didn't let them. Isoke DeLeon, who finished with eight kills, led the Engineers with four kills and four aces in the game, which Poly trailed only at 1-0.

The Doves, however, did cruise through the finale. Led by four Butler kills, they never trailed.

In the first game, Gorham had five kills, but it was Taneisha Osborne who made one of the key plays of the match.

With the Doves leading 6-2, Osborne made a terrific dig to stall a potential Engineers rally. She dove for a ball near the sideline, and it went over the net and fell in for a side-out that sparked a six-point Western rally.

Pub Date: 11/05/98

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