Key keeps rolling, sweeps N. Caroline for shot at state title

No. 5 Eagles take streak into finals vs. Centennial

Class 2A volleyball

November 18, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Francis Scott Key hadn't lost a game in 11 days. Unfortunately for North Caroline, the Eagles weren't about to start last night.

Junior setter Carrie Ness dished 28 assists and junior middle hitter Samantha Stambaugh registered 12 kills as No. 5 Francis Scott Key overwhelmed the Bulldogs from Caroline County in straight sets, 15-6, 15-9, 15-4, in a Class 2A state semifinal at CCBC--Essex.

The Eagles, who have won nine straight games and improved to 17-2, will meet top-ranked and defending Class 2A champ Centennial in the state championship match at noon, Saturday, at CCBC--Catonsville.

Ness said the team is hungry to win its first state crown since 1996.

"Our goal in every match is to get the first five points, then the first 10, then the first 15," said Ness, whose sister was on the 1996 state championship squad. "We keep pushing each other and we never let up."

Francis Scott Key coach Alice Smith said she felt that the key to the game was the Eagles' quick 13-2 lead in the first game.

"I think we came out strong in the first game," Smith said. "We came up to the net and hit some nice balls."

The Bulldogs found their rhythm in the second game, jumping out to a 6-4 lead. But five kills each from Stambaugh and junior middle hitter Adria Stonesifer helped the Eagles answer back with an 11-3 run to take the game.

The third game belonged to Francis Scott Key, which allowed North Caroline (14-4) to tie the score at 4 before winning 11 straight points to clinch the match.

Bulldogs coach Michelle Gary blamed her team's lackluster effort on youth and inexperience.

"We didn't communicate well at all," she said. "We didn't perform as well as we could have. We were nervous."

No. 1 Centennial 3, No. 8 Hereford 0: The top-ranked Eagles rolled into their ninth state final in 11 years with a 15-11, 15-5, 15-1 victory over the Bulls in the other Class 2A semifinal at CCBC-Essex.

The Eagles (17-2) have won three straight titles, the past two Class 2A crowns and the 1996 Class 3A title. They have won a record eight titles, including seven in the past eight years.

Last night, the Eagles had trouble putting Hereford (18-2) away early, but once they emerged from a 10-8 first-game deficit, they rolled through the rest of the match.

Hereford's Molly Corbin served six straight points -- three of them aces -- and the Bulls took a 10-8 lead on Tara McElvaney's kill. But Corbin smacked her next serve long and the Eagles then took control of the match.

"[Corbin] got on a roll over there," said Centennial coach Mike Bossom. "She served deep a couple times, a good floater."

The Bulls could not contend with Centennial's power, especially their middle where Lindsay Feller had eight kills and Amanda Olsen had five. Outside hitters Kim Emrich and Carolyn Dougherty contributed five kills each. Setters Michelle LeDonne had 18 assists.

-- Katherine Dunn

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