Glenelg dethrones Liberty in 2A

Gladiators' 4-set win earns 4th state title

Volleyball

High Schools

November 19, 2005|By KATHERINE DUNN | KATHERINE DUNN,SUN REPORTER

COLLEGE PARK -- Liberty's state title run ended last night just the way it started - with a classic championship battle against Glenelg.

The two-time defending Class 2A champs started strong, but the Gladiators' power and a few glitches in the No. 4 Lions' defense turned the match in No. 3 Glenelg's favor as the Gladiators took a 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-21 victory at Ritchie Coliseum. It was the fourth state crown for Glenelg (18-3), which last won in 2002 before the Lions claimed back-to-back titles.

Two years ago, the Lions won their first state title in a thrilling five-game match, and Glenelg's Julie Hollrah said that loss was in the back of the Gladiators' minds last night.

"We wanted to get a little revenge, I guess," said Hollrah, who pounded out a match-high 18 kills. "We were rooting for them to win [the Lions' five-game semifinal victory over North East Wednesday night] so we could play them."

The Lions (17-2) played near-flawless ball in winning the first game, and neither team managed more than a five-point lead until late in the third game.

The key play may have come late in the second game. After Liberty's Kristin Steinnagel tied it at 24, Glenelg setter Allison Gittings saved the next point by getting her fist on a ball Lauren Tabor tried to shoot deep.

"That pivotal second game, if we had won that, we might be standing over there with the championship trophy," said Lions coach Dave Trumbo. "We dug something up, our setter shot angle and there was nobody there and [Gittings] stuck up the heel of her hand and popped it up in the air. They transitioned and they got a kill off it."

The Gladiators were all up close to the net, Trumbo said, so the Lions were trying to shoot to the corners, but Gittings made the play and ended up with a kill. She dumped the ball over the net and it dropped to the floor for a 25-24 Gladiators lead.

Brooke Winterling, who had 14 kills and four blocks, polished off the game with an ace, and the Gladiators swept the last three games.

Hollrah agreed that winning the second game was critical.

"The end of the second game was a turning point definitely," said the 5-foot-10 junior, "because we got all our energy back and were so much more confident knowing that we actually beat them."

For the Lions, who rebuilt into a Carroll County and regional championship team, the fifth straight trip to the state tournament was its own reward.

"I'm not disappointed at all," said Melissa Stansbury, who led the Lions with seven kills. "Nobody expected us to make it here this year, and I'm so proud of our whole team. This is such a big accomplishment for us."

Class 1A -- Sammi Snodderly and Lacey Johnson had nine kills each as Williamsport (16-3) continued to dominate Class 1A, taking its fourth straight crown in a 25-23, 25-21, 26-24 victory over Poolesville (15-3). The title was the 12th for the Washington County team, matching Class 3A champ Centennial for the most in state tournament history.katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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