Versatile Liberty captures close one from Owings Mills

No. 6 Lions in state final for 1st time since '91 after batting back No. 5 Eagles

Class 2A volleyball

High Schools

November 13, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For three games in last night's Class 2A state semifinal at CCBC-Essex, No. 5 Owings Mills pushed No. 6 Liberty hard.

In the end, however, it was the Lions who managed to push the Golden Eagles over the edge.

Tied at 17 in each of the first two games and at 19 in the third, Liberty used its multiple threats to pull out each in a 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 win, giving the Carroll County team - making its third straight trip to the semifinals - its first trip to the championship match since 1991.

"We've been here before, so that helped a lot," said junior Meaghan McConville. "I think we wanted it a lot more. We've been here, but we had never made it past the semifinals. We wanted this so bad."

The Lions will face top-ranked Glenelg, which earned the right to defend its state title by defeating J.M. Bennett. The final will take place Saturday at noon at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

Liberty (17-0) will be shooting for its first state title.

To get that shot, however, the Lions first had to outlast Owings Mills (17-3), which previously had lost only to Baltimore County rival and second-ranked Towson.

McConville (12 kills, three blocks) and Stacey Krebs (10 kills, three blocks) helped the Lions rally time and again, finishing the first game by scoring 15 of the final 23 points, the second by scoring 13 of 19, and the third by scoring six of seven.

"We have really good players, but they probably had more outstanding players than we did," said Owings Mills coach Lisa Meyer. "We just didn't have the horses to put us over the edge."

Defense also played a major role.

After Eagles outside hitter Lindsey Wenderoth dominated to the tune of eight kills in the opening game, Liberty began defending her better at the net, holding her to just eight in the final two games combined.

"We knew where she liked to hit, and we just put all kids there," said Liberty coach Dave Trumbo, who has known Wenderoth since the sixth grade.

"We tried to block a certain way and channel her kills a certain way. Then we were able to transition into offense."

"It was just a matter of getting to know her as a player," said McConville. "It was getting to know her as a player and how to block her."

Nicole Puller also had seven kills, and Stacey Wasserman four kills and five aces for the Eagles.

Setter Lauren Locklear finished with 28 assists for Liberty.

Their recent losses in the state semifinals made the win particularly sweet for the Lions.

"It was big," said Trumbo, "but we came in here expecting to win."

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