Liberty dethrones No. 1 Glenelg

Five-game thriller ends 2-year win streak, gives No. 6 Lions 1st title at 19-0

Class 2A volleyball final

High Schools

November 16, 2003|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Liberty shocked top-ranked and defending champion Glenelg in a scintillating five-game Class 2A state volleyball final yesterday at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum.

No. 6 Liberty, with only one senior in hitter Christina Yow, halted Glenelg's two-year, 38-game winning streak with a 20-25, 25-21, 26-24, 13-25, 15-9 victory. The Lions' first state volleyball title capped off a perfect 19-0 season in glorious fashion.

"We had a great couple years, but Liberty played awesome, better than I've ever seen them play," said Glenelg coach Jennifer Beall. "They kept us on the defensive."

Glenelg's superb setter Tara Stradling, who had a match-high 30 assists and eight kills, said the "pressure" was on the Gladiators.

"We played our hearts out and came up short," said Stradling. "Basically they had the drive and wanted it even more than us."

Junior hitters Meghan McConville (seven kills) and Stacey Krebs (13 kills) and first-year varsity setter Lauren Locklear (16 assists, 9-for-9 serving) ignited the Lions, who were backed by a few hundred fans.

"The school SGA sponsored a bus so the kids got to come for free," said Liberty coach Dave Trumbo. "Eight dollars [admission] is a lot for a high school kid to pay. Our crowd on Tuesday at Essex for the semifinals was incredible as it was today. ... Every time we got down, they picked us up."

A tape session at 9 a.m. yesterday convinced Liberty that it could pull off the upset and made for a fun bus ride from Carroll County to College Park.

"We really thought we had a good chance," said Trumbo.

"I took a tape of Glenelg apart and showed our girls how we could win. It took only about 15 minutes to watch. You could see on the tape how similar we matched up with them.

"The girls were superstitious and didn't want to look at the tape because last year we did that and lost to Mount Hebron in the semis. But I told them, we need to do this and I need to show you how we're going to beat them. They were singing ... in the back of the bus. They were relaxed."

Glenelg (18-1) came out and took the first game by 25-20, but it didn't deter the Lions.

"After watching the game tape today, we knew we could play with them and weren't worried after losing the first game," said Krebs, who led Liberty wins in the next two games by 25-21 and 26-24. "We were the underdogs and had scrimmaged them earlier this season, but we've gotten so much better."

Liberty took a 7-6 lead in the second game and led the rest of the way, before battling through 10 ties, the last at 24, to take the third game and a 2-1 lead. A pair of kills by Krebs tied it at 24 and two hitting errors by Glenelg's Rebecca Tursell resulted in the 26-24 victory for the Lions.

Glenelg ran away with the fourth game behind the hitting of Morgan and Tursell, 25-13, to force the 15-point tiebreaker per rally scoring rules.

"We might have gotten a little overconfident after the second win," said McConville. "But we got it back together. They thought and expected to win, but we knew we could win."

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