Westminster rallies by S. Carroll

Down 2-1, Owls come back to win fourth, fifth games


High Schools

October 03, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If ever there was any doubt that volleyball is a game of momentum, one need look no further than last night's Carroll County showdown at South Carroll.

Despite giving up huge strings of points early in falling behind two games to one, visiting Westminster turned the tide at mid-match, seized control and rode it to a pivotal 17-25, 25-18, 15-25, 25-13, 15-12 victory over South Carroll.

"That's the closest match I've ever been involved in, and I've been coaching for quite a few years in club ball and high school," said Westminster coach Kris Rusinko, whose team surrendered the final 13 points to lose the first game, then gave up 14 of 15 to begin the third game. "You've got to get one strong play to come back from something like that."

Time and again, however, the Owls (4-2 overall, 2-0 county) got just that, following the big hitting of Katie Seibel (nine kills, two blocks) and Kristi Kraus (four kills, four blocks) and seven aces by Lea Johnston to their biggest victory this season after early losses to powers Williamsport and Francis Scott Key.

"We were just really intense the whole match," said Seibel. "We had a few mistakes and that kind of got us down a little, but we talked and just kind of got pumped up."

Rusinko said that the turning point in the match might have been his team's loss in the third game.

After falling behind 14-1, the Owls clawed back, at one point pulling to within eight points. Though South Carroll (4-2, 1-1) held on to win the game, 25-15, Westminster had wrestled away momentum.

"That gave us all the momentum for Game 4 and Game 5," Rusinko said.

The Owls then jumped out to a 15-2 lead in Game 4, thanks in part to five aces in a span of six serves by Johnston, to even the match, then held a slim lead for most of the way in the deciding game.

"We had them down, but they came right back at us, and at the end they just wanted it more," said South Carroll coach Debbie Eaton. "Momentum changes so fast in volleyball, it really does."

The Cavaliers, led by the strong net play of sophomore hitter Melissa Axtell, served up 11 aces in the first three games, but just one against four service errors in the final two.

Facing its most even competition so far this season, the Owls learned a lot about themselves.

"I think we realize what we can do," Seibel said. "Hopefully, we'll keep it up."

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