Liberty sweeps past Westminster

Surging Lions roll to ninth straight win with blowout of Owls

Volleyball

High School

October 12, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Liberty girls volleyball coach David Trumbo was concerned his team could suffer a letdown this week after it won an emotional Carroll County Tournament last weekend. Consider those fears allayed.

The ninth-ranked Lions waxed Central Maryland Conference rival Linganore of Frederick County in three games on Tuesday, then last night easily defeated Westminster, 15-8, 15-6, 15-3. Liberty, which improved to 9-0, controls its own destiny in both the CMC (9-0) and the Carroll County League (4-0).

"We had a long talk on Monday after the tournament," Liberty senior hitter Holly Steinaker said. "We weren't going to allow a letdown to happen. We were ready for this match. We knew in order to win the county we had to beat Westminster. ... We're undefeated right now, and we want to keep it that way."

Steinaker, who had seven kills, one block, two aces and won 12 service points, was just one cog of a balanced offense. Senior hitter Becky Trumbo finished with 12 kills, one assist and an ace, senior hitter Becky Neubauer had five kills, three aces and won 13 service points, senior hitter Joanne Brophy registered six kills, senior hitter Lauren Ford had five kills and junior setter Laura Shand had 29 assists, four blocks and three kills.

However, Liberty was most impressive on the defensive end. It seemed every time it appeared Westminster (3-5, 3-5, 1-3) would win a point, a Lions defender made a diving dig to keep the point alive. In total, Liberty had 35 digs, led my Brophy (9), Shand (9), Neubauer (6) and Becky Trumbo (6).

"They got to everything," Westminster coach Michele Crouse said. "My girls played well the first two games. We were hitting well, we were blocking well, but Liberty just got to everything. They looked great."

Liberty raced to a 7-1 lead in the first game on the strength of seven assists by Shand, three kills by Neubauer and three kills by Steinaker. Westminster came back to tie the game 8-8, but Neubauer closed out with seven straight service points, including two aces.

Liberty led the second game, 8-4, when it broke things open with three spectacular plays. First, a diving dig by Neubauer kept the ball in play long enough for Westminster to make an error. After three sideouts, a diving dig by Brophy kept Liberty in the point long enough to win, and shortly thereafter, Becky Trumbo made a diving dig on a Westminster serve that landed for a point.

"It's a mentality," David Trumbo said. "Everybody talks about not letting the ball hit. Every day in practice we're wailing on the ball as hard as we can, and they're diving and getting to them."

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