Liberty puts sweep to Westminster

No. 7 Lions hit 13-0, clinch 1st in league, tie in county


October 24, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With less than a week to go before the start of the state volleyball playoffs, No. 7 Liberty entered last night's match against Westminster exuberant to face playoff-caliber competition.

As the visiting Owls discovered, the Lions already appear in postseason form.

Megan McConville had 14 kills, and Stacey Krebs and Christina Yow combined for 19 more, as Liberty rebounded from mid-match troubles for a 25-17, 25-21, 25-15 win.

"We were so excited to play a good opponent," said Liberty coach Dave Trumbo, whose team had feasted on lesser competition in recent days. "We're just pushing for the playoffs now. Our mind-set is that we want to play far, far into the playoffs."

With the win the Lions (13-0 overall, 5-0 county) clinched first place in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's Chesapeake Conference, as well as a tie for the Carroll County championship. Beating South Carroll on Tuesday would give Liberty sole possession of its fifth straight county title.

To get to that point, however, the Lions first had to survive a talent-laden Owls team also in the hunt for county and conference crowns.

After scoring nine of the final 12 points to take the first game, Liberty trailed most of Game 2. Paced by Amber Rex (six kills) and Katie Seibel (seven blocks), Westminster (8-4, 3-2) led by as many as six before tying the game at 20 on Seibel's kill.

In the final stages of the game, however, winning shots by Yow (nine kills) and Krebs (10 kills), combined with a couple of key errors by Westminster, gave Liberty the game - and control of the match.

"We were high on our horse, I guess you'd say," said Owls coach Kris Rusinko. "We had them on the ropes, and if we had taken that second game, all of the sudden it's 1-1 and you're back to square one. Then a couple of points toward the end gave all the momentum right back."

"They could have beaten us that game, but we just played hard," said McConville. "We stayed together."

Westminster came out flat in Game 3, with the Lions building a 12-4 advantage. Liberty also thrived on the accurate setting of Lauren Locklear, who finished with 32 assists.

Rusinko thought the loss would keep Westminster from gaining one of the top four seeds in the regional playoffs, but was glad to play a top opponent.

"Right near the playoffs, you need to see that level of competition," Rusinko said. "I'd rather face a team like Liberty 10 times and lose all 10 than win against easy competition."

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