Towson tips Dulaney softly for county title

Deft game, touches replace power for No. 1 Generals

High Schools

Volleyball

October 31, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Towson boasts as strong a power volleyball game as any team around, but in last night's Baltimore County championship, the No. 1 Generals used more brains than brawn to defeat No. 4 Dulaney and claim their second straight title.

The host Generals (14-0) exploited the Lions' triple block as 5-foot-11 outside hitter Stephanie Kines and 6-1 middle hitter Emily Berman sent plenty of soft shots into open spots to spark their 15-7, 15-12, 11-15, 15-11 victory.

The power game worked, too, but tipping the ball into open spaces in the front court helped keep the Lions (14-2) off-guard.

"They always have that triple block and we've always gone there," Berman said. "When I'm in the back row, I tell Stephanie where to hit it. I see the opening and she does the same for me, so it really makes it easier to mix it up."

Kines, who has an uncanny ability to adjust her attack in midair, finished with 27 kills and Berman contributed 20. About a quarter of those were tips.

"In those games, we had no answer for their tips," said Dulaney setter Bruna Fonseca. "We really never had time to establish the block or anything."

Still, the Lions made the Generals work for just about everything. Neither team managed to carry the momentum for long and neither rallied for more than six points in a row. Most of the time, it was just one or two.

"Dulaney played well," Generals coach Jayne Lacy said. "They showed a lot of heart and we couldn't stop Jen Wylie. We could not get a block on her."

Wylie, a 5-8 outside hitter who broke her right foot twice last season and missed nearly the whole season, matched Kines with 27 kills. Lions teammate Sarah McKinley came on strong in the last three games with 11 kills.

The Generals, defending state Class 2A champs, took an 11-4 lead in the first game and then scraped out a nail-biter of a second game. Taking a 10-5 lead in the third game, they thought they were cruising.

"In our minds, we thought the game was over," said Kines, a first-team All-Metro player last season. "We would play in waves of very good volleyball, good volleyball and poor volleyball. We got in a hole and we couldn't get out of it."

The Lions took advantage of Towson mistakes and rallied to score the last five points of the third game. McKinley had two kills and a huge block against Berman. Wylie scored the 15th point with an ace.

But Dulaney could not hold on in the final game, despite making up a 6-0 deficit and taking a 9-7 lead. The Lions made too many mistakes down the stretch, including five service errors. The last net serve stopped a rally that had pulled Dulaney within 13-11.

The Generals, who got 46 assists from junior setter Emily Williams and a terrific defensive game from Stephanie Heard, took the 14th point on a Dulaney hitting error before Berman finished off the match by shooting the ball deep into an open corner.

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