Timing is everything for No. 2 Towson in making state final

Stolarz's critical kills help Generals keep momentum to upend Seneca Valley

Class 3A volleyball

High Schools

November 13, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - As Seneca Valley's volleyball team came inching back at No. 2 Towson in the fourth game of last night's state Class 3A semifinal match, the Generals' Kellie Krouse felt pressure to put the Screaming Eagles away right then.

"It was so important to win it in that fourth game," said Krouse, whose team led two games to one. "When it was 21-19 [Seneca Valley leading], I thought if we go into a fifth game, we're done for, because our emotion - we were getting down, down. They were getting all the momentum. I knew it was going to be horrible if we went to a fifth game."

So the Generals polished off the Eagles in four games, reeling off the last six points. After struggling from the middle and attacking from outside most of the match, the Generals reasserted themselves inside with a couple of Teri Stolarz kills in that final run to a 25-15, 28-30, 25-21, 25-21 victory at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

The Generals (19-0) will make their third state final appearance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when they play Calvert at Ritchie Coliseum. The 2001 Class 2A state champs, the Generals fell to No. 1 Glenelg in last year's final.

Last night, the Generals got off to a good start but started to slide in the second game just as the Eagles (14-4) began passing better and running a stronger attack.

In a match that included few significant scoring runs for either team, Towson had a 16-11 lead when too many little mistakes began cropping up. The Eagles pulled ahead 23-20 and kept at least a point on the Generals, finally breaking a 28-28 tie with two straight points.

"We made so many mistakes ... it was like a domino effect, one right after the other and we couldn't get our rhythm," Generals coach Jayne Lacy said. "We'd make a mistake, have a nice play, make a mistake, have a nice play and it just never clicked for us I don't think all night long, except maybe the first game."

The Eagles, in the state tournament for the first time since 1991, kept the Generals out of sync with their 6-foot-2 presence, Krista Eschelman.

With Eschelman controlling the net, the Generals went to the outside and got terrific performances from Krouse (22 kills) and Laura Maas (14 kills). Trouble passing also forced the Generals to use their outside hitters a lot, but the Eagles adjusted and dug up many balls in the third and fourth games that were kills earlier.

"When we did pass well and we were able to run the middle," said Lacy, "we had one eye on [Eschelman] and one eye on the ball. We got to the point where, because of our passing, we were going to the outside all the time and they were keying up and using their defense. They were covering where we were hitting."

That made it important to get middle hitter Stolarz back into the attack. Sharper passing helped setter Emmy Williams (41 assists) make better use of her diverse offense and Stolarz answered with four of her six kills.

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