Wright falls in four, as Thomas Johnson escapes 11-3 deficit Pats eek out 16-14 win in tense, decisive game

Class 3A volleyball

November 19, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

C. Milton Wright's Megan Hube will be seeing 11-3 in her mind for a long time -- much longer than the Mustangs held that lead in the fourth game of last night's state Class 3A semifinal.

Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that lead did not hold up, and Thomas Johnson rallied to a 15-5, 15-8, 13-15, 16-14 victory at Essex Community College.

In their second straight appearance in the state final four, the Mustangs (12-6) struggled early but seemed ready to turn the match around with a win in the third game and a big lead to open the fourth game of the match.

"It takes us a game to get started," said Hube, a junior who finished with 11 kills. "But we have been playing great the past three matches, and I was like, 'Come on. Let's play like we know how to play.' "

The Harford County champs did just that, rallying from a 10-4 deficit in the third game to win 15-13 on Hube's off-balance tip at the net. The momentum carried over to the fourth game.

While Wright was making the early mistakes, the Patriots began to break down in the third and fourth games. That, combined with kills from Hube, Myesha Douglas (11 kills), Dawn Lorden, Ashley Blevins and Holly Dye, helped the Mustangs run their lead to 11-3 in the fourth game.

But the Frederick County Patriots (16-3), who ousted No. 15 Liberty in a grueling five-game match for the regional championship, began to chip at the Mustangs' lead.

At 11-5, the Mustangs were whistled for a rotation violation. Someone had served out of rotation earlier in the game, but the officials caught it on Jenn Thomas' serve.

Sorting out the correct rotation took about three minutes.

"That did take a little wind out of our sails," said Mustangs coach Kim Mayforth. "I think we got a little up-tight after that and started not passing well. We go in and out like that sometimes."

After a Lorden kill and a Hube block put the Mustangs two points away from forcing a fifth game, the Patriots began to rally again.

Behind three kills from Kellyanne Rose and two each from Jen Wilson and Jen Sheridan, the Patriots pulled ahead, 14-13.

The Patriots then handed the Mustangs their 14th point after they had trouble handling a good serve by Lorden and Nicole Maldo's pass from behind the end line sailed into the net.

Lorden's kill forced a side-out. A Mustangs' net violation then gave the Patriots a 15-14 lead. On the final play of the match, the Patriots' Emily Hauver made a terrific dig for the return, and Dye was called for an illegal set, trying to make the only play she could.

The Patriots will meet Calvert (18-0), which swept Gywnn Park in the other Class 3A semifinal for the championship at 7: 30 p.m. Saturday at Catonsville Community College.

Calvert dethroned defending state champ Northern-Calvert -Z County in the regional championships.

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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