Smithsburg tosses cape on Loch Raven in semis

Leopards decisively sweep No. 12 Raiders, reach 18-0

Class 1A volleyball

High Schools

November 14, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Smithsburg's volleyball uniforms don't feature a blue-and-gold Superman emblem for nothing.

The Leopards, who have not lost a game all season, overpowered No. 12 Loch Raven, 15-2, 15-1, 15-5, last night in a Class 1A state volleyball semifinal at CCBC-Essex.

The offensive stats were overwhelmingly in Smithsburg's favor - 33 kills for the defending champion Leopards to five for the Raiders. Leopards Michelle Feiser and Lauren Richards combined for 21 kills.

"There was just no way we could compete with that," said Loch Raven coach Carol McPherson. "They got everything up, every hit, every dink. We have not played anything comparable to them this year."

The Leopards (18-0) will meet 1999 state champion Williamsport in an all-Washington County finale at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at CCBC-Catonsville. Between them, the two Western Maryland teams have won nine of the past 14 1A crowns, but the Leopards swept the Wildcats in their regular-season meeting on Oct. 11.

The loss ended a good season for the Raiders (16-3), who last won a state title in 1994. They did not lose a game during their run through the North Regional and had won five straight matches since falling to Rising Sun in four games three weeks ago.

But last night, nothing short of kryptonite could have stopped Smithsburg, which has won 26 straight matches.

"I thought the Superman emblems were really cool," said Raiders senior setter Heather Funk. "They made me want to see how good they really were. They were intense."

The Leopards, who had 6-foot-1 bookends in Richards and Heather Ashley (seven kills), showed their strength from the start. After making an initial mistake that gave Loch Raven the first point of the match, Smithsburg reeled off 10 straight. The Raiders also scored the first point of the second game before the Leopards rolled up the last 15.

In the third game, Celeste Longwell and Jackie Klein each had a kill in a four-point run that gave Loch Raven a 5-2 edge, but the Leopards quickly turned things around. Jenelle Stouffer served out the match, helped by three aces and three Ashley kills.

Williamsport 3, Rising Sun 0: Danielle Munson had nine kills and Katie Spoonire contributed seven as the Wildcats (16-2) rolled in the other 1A semifinal. Setter Denise Sullivan had 29 assists in the 15-11, 15-5, 15-4 win over the Cecil County Tigers (16-3).

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