Steady play helps Friends beat McDonogh for A title Quakers spring upset on 11th-ranked Eagles

St. Paul's drops B final

AIS volleyball

November 08, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Friends went into last night's Association of Independent Schools A Division championship with the perfect strategy to counter No. 11 McDonogh's high-powered offense -- consistency.

While the Eagles (12-2) were missing serves, shanking passes and hesitating on defense, Friends played nearly flawless ball to sweep the defending champs, 15-12, 15-8, 15-10, in one of the season's biggest upsets.

For the Quakers (8-2) and coach Staci Barbero, this was the first title in four straight trips to the final.

"My team just dug in," said Barbero. "We were consistent with our serving and our passing and our defense was the key. These girls really played as a team."

Friends did not have the power to match McDonogh seniors Greichaly Cepero (13 kills, 23 assists), a Division I prospect being recruited by Nebraska and UCLA, and Aisha Mason (12 kills), but that did not bother the Quakers.

"We knew those two were going to get their points, but we didn't get upset when they got those points," said Barbero, whose team had 21 kills while the Eagles had 45.

The Quakers countered with solid serving and accurate passing as well as aggressive defense -- especially from Chelsea Kehne, Lesley Wojcik and Anouk Erni.

"Coaches always tell you to make them make the mistakes," said Kehne, who led Friends with eight kills, "and this is the first match all season we've really been able to come through."

The host Eagles, who swept Friends in three games during the regular season, got in trouble early by missing five serves on their first six rotations. That set the tone for the match and Friends took an early lead in each game.

When the Quakers rolled up 10 straight points for a 12-2 lead in the second game, the Eagles got panicky and started shanking passes, letting balls drop and running into the net. McDonogh mistakes gave Friends nine point in that run.

In the third game, the Eagles fell behind 10-3 before Cepero, Mason and Natalie Brooks (nine kills) sparked a rally to tie. After Kirsten Coe's tip and an Eagles' error gave the Quakers a 12-10 lead, the Eagles netted another serve. The Quakers answered with three straight points, ending the match on Coe's ace.

"We were a little overconfident," said Mason, "and we never got into any kind of rhythm. We just weren't ourselves."

Arlington Baptist 3, St. Paul's 1: The Eagles (11-5) won the B Division championship, 15-11, 15-4, 4-15, 15-11, led by Erin Moore's 12 aces, including match point.

The Gators (9-4) rallied behind Micah Cunningham and Jennie Taylor to win the third game. Moore and Darla Heller had three kills each for the Eagles.

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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