Glenelg digs out of 0-2 deficit to topple River Hill

Trailing by 11 points in third game, fourth-ranked Gladiators storm back

Volleyball

September 26, 2006|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

It was over, or at least it sure seemed that way.

After No. 5 River Hill won the first two games and had an 11-point lead in Game 3 of its volleyball match at No. 4 Glenelg yesterday, a sweep of the Gladiators seemed likely.

But no so fast.

Glenelg rallied for 11 unanswered points to tie and eventually win the third game, then took the next two games and won the Howard County match, 23-25, 21-25, 29-27, 25-15, 15-11.

"We sort of thought it was over and said, `What the heck, let's go and play our hearts out and see what happens,' " said Glenelg senior outside hitter Dana Gittings, who had 14 kills, including a decisive tip to win the third game, and made a diving save to set up the match-ending kill by Stephanie Natale in the fifth game.

Coach Don Beall of the defending Class 2A state champion Gladiators (5-0) said he had never been a part of a comeback quite like the one his team pulled off yesterday.

"We practice every day with games of 22, tied at 22 with our `A' team playing our `B' team, and that tightens things up, helps us mentally," Beall said. "I think it did today."

Beall felt his team played well enough to win yesterday's first game and that it didn't play quite as well in the second. An adjustment with their hitters led to the comeback in the third.

"We started setting our middles in the third, fourth and fifth games," Gittings said. "Most teams set outside. Our passes got a lot better and we took advantage."

Natale led the Gladiators with 16 kills, and middle hitters Stephanie Geisler and Sabrina Winterlings had 15 and 12 kills, respectively. Molly Barnhardt added 11 clutch aces.

Coach Sybil Modispacher of the Hawks (4-1) said Glenelg deserves "big props for the way they came back. They started exploiting our weaknesses, and got the momentum on their side."

"They gained a lot of energy from that third-game win and you can't make mistakes against a good team like that. We're capable of playing at a higher level," she said.

Maddi Lee led the Hawks with 14 kills, four aces and 11 digs. Jenni Li had seven kills and eight digs, and setters Becky Paynter and Kaitlin Drake had 25 assists between them.

pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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