Focused Key sweeps past Middletown, 3-0

Two long runs highlight 55-minute win

Eagles 7-1

Volleyball

High Schools

October 05, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

What a difference a couple weeks can make.

Two weeks ago, Francis Scott Key edged Monocacy Valley Conference rival Middletown in a five-game volleyball thriller.

But in last night's return meeting, the Eagles played a near mistake-free match and clobbered the Frederick countians, 3-0, sweeping the three games by 15-2, 15-3, 15-13 in 55 minutes.

Senior setter Gail Baumgardner had 18 assists and a kill, senior middle hitter Sarah Stambaugh recorded nine kills and five blocks and senior outside hitter Stacey Stonesifer won 17 points on her serve, including five aces, as the Eagles improved to 7-1 overall, 3-1 in the league.

"Last time we played them, we had 30 serve-receive errors and 30 hitting errors," said Key coach Alice Rau. "We cut out 60 errors in our [match] tonight. This is the first time we got 95 percent of our serves in.

"In the past, we haven't been able to do better than 88 percent. I attribute it to that. When you're concentrating, then you're going to be on. When you don't make the errors, and you make the other team play the ball, it's all on their shoulders."

Middletown (4-4, 3-4) won the match's first two points, and then Key went on a 15-0 run for the first game.

At 3-2, the Eagles won six straight points on the serve of sophomore outside hitter Tabatha Hahn, who had two aces during that stretch.

After two sideouts, Stonesifer took over at 9-2 and served out the game. Stambaugh had a block and two kills on the first game's final three points.

In the second game, the Knights led 3-1, but Key finished with a 14-0 spurt. At 4-3, Stonesifer served 11 straight points to put the Eagles ahead 2-0 in games after less than a half-hour.

"Serving has always been what I'm best at," said Stonesifer, who had two aces in the first game and three in the second. "I'm going to try to make them make the mistake on it. That's my goal when I'm serving."

Key appeared it would tear through the third game as rapidly as the first two.

But after racing to a 13-2 lead, the Eagles saw Middletown build a 9-0 run to close the gap. At 14-13, sophomore middle hitter Jen Stambaugh ended the match with a service ace.

"We were a little ahead of ourselves, started making mistakes and got frustrated," Sarah Stambaugh said. "Then we realized what was going on, took a breather and got back into the game. This is the best we played all year. Our serving was in, our passing was excellent, and everything jelled together."

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