Taller, unbeaten Walt Whitman blocks No. 3 Dulaney's title run Vikings overpower Lions to gain spot in state final


November 18, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Going into last night's state Class 4A semifinal, No. 3 Dulaney and Mongomery County's Walt Whitman had almost identical season statistics except in one category -- blocks.

The Vikings averaged twice as many blocks as the Lions. A quick look at their roster revealed why -- four 6-footers. The Lions' tallest player, Melaney Heagy, is 5-10.

The difference in height proved to be the difference in the match as the Vikings took a 15-4, 15-1, 15-3 victory at Essex Community College. They advance to meet No. 1 Severna Park for the title Saturday at Catonsville Community College.

For the Lions, the season ends with their only loss in 18 matches, but realistically, there wasn't much they could do to prevent it.

"We had a great season," said senior Teresa Graham. "If we had faced any other team, we would have beaten them. This team is going to be state champions."

The Vikings (19-0) pounded out 25 kills to 13 for the Baltimore County champs. Whitman's 6-1 senior Elizabeth Davenport-Pollock had 14 while 6-0 Erin Sisk had six. Mariel Davenport-Pollock, Elizabeth's 6-0 twin, had 22 assists.

In Game 1, Elizabeth Davenport-Pollock had six kills and the Lions' entire team had seven. It went on like that for the whole match.

Whitman also had seven blocks and, with two 6-footers always at the net, forced the Lions to alter their hitting. While the Vikings had only two players shorter than 5-foot-7, the Lions had only five players over 5-7.

"We really had to adjust because their arms were taking up four feet of the net," said Graham. "We had to move our sets around to open up the block, but we didn't pass well enough to do that, so we had to face huge blocks on both sides of the net."

Passing was the biggest problem for the Lions, who attacked effectively from the middle later in the match. But they could not sustain any momentum, because when the Vikings weren't smashing the ball, the Lions setters struggled to put up good sets off poor passes.

"When we passed well, we were able to [get] sideout against them," said Dulaney coach Ian Blanchard. "But it wasn't very often that we passed well and that's pure intimidation. When we did pass well, we were able to run the middle and that opened up the outside. Melaney got some good looks at the set and was able to put the ball down but it was few and far between."

Heagy finished with six kills while Graham and Liz Schmitz had three each. Lindsay Lawson had nine assists.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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