Liberty nips N. Carroll with big 5th-game rally Lions overcome 12-5 deficit to gain region final berth

November 12, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Liberty will get a chance to defend its Class 3A West regional championship at home tomorrow night, but it did not come without a furious struggle.

Down 12-5 in the fifth game against North Carroll, the Lions, led by a fired-up Abby Barnett, climbed all the way back to claim the victory, 5-15, 15-10, 15-12, 3-15, 15-13.

Liberty (12-4) will meet Thomas Johnson (14-3) for the title. TJ thwarted a strong effort by South Carroll, winning 15-12, 15-9, 16-18, 15-11.

The turning point in the final game of the hard-fought match in Hampstead came with North Carroll leading, 6-3. A close call, with an official difference of opinion on a line decision, went against the Lions.

North Carroll (13-3) took advantage of the situation, getting that point, and coming right back with another for 8-3. Almost immediately, the score went to 9-3 when two Liberty players let the ball drop between them.

With Barnett making a series of plays, Liberty rode the serving of first Jen Bruce, then Stephanie Wilder to get its job done.

Bruce, who had done the most to calm Barnett down after the key call, served four straight points, combining with Wilder on block for one of them, and the visitors were within 12-10.

North Carroll got its final point when a Sarah Clark serve did not get returned, but Wilder put down a shot to give her side the ball, and herself, the serve.

North Carroll had one drop and put two into the net, and the game was tied at 13. Liberty's fans, who had slowly gotten into the spirit of the occasion, were on their feet, to be answered in noise volume by the home crowd.

Barnett did the rest. She found an open spot for one point. She set up the last one, when her hit was bumped up to the front row but then hit into the net.

"Abby is not an emotional player, but on that call she was really hot," said Liberty coach Dave Trumbo. "If there were nerves about us being behind at that point, they go out the window. Get Abby mad, and she plays her best game.

"Still, we're behind, and my best player is totally frustrated and in tears. However, the team got behind their leader." Regardless, it appeared to be a long haul from there.

"It was an important point point, and I didn't want to lose it," Barnett said of the call, where the line judge said out, and the referee ruled in. "Jen [Bruce] is level-headed. She helped me."

Liberty also got strong performances from Wilder and Beth Modracek.

Kate Wall, the North Carroll leader, finished an outstanding career with another strong performance.

Pub Date: 11/12/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.