Reservoir rallies to title

Gators force 5th game, top Glenelg for first county championship


November 02, 2006|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun reporter

Reservoir's Jamie Thomas felt she had something to prove to Glenelg last night in the Howard County volleyball championship match in Fulton.

She definitely proved it in leading the host and No. 2-ranked Gators to their first Howard County title, over No. 7 Glenelg in five games.

Thomas, one of only four seniors on the team at the five-year-old school, was all over the court in a roller-coaster match won by the Gators, 14-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-23, 15-10.

"The last time we played Glenelg, they completely shut me out with their blocking, " said Thomas, who had 18 kills last night on a variety of tips and smashes, even using her left hand on a couple hits.

"So, this was good for me to get around the block actually and find the open side. My hitting was really off that game, but Rachel [Burke] came through with her hitting."

Even without a big game from Thomas, the Gators (14-1) swept the Gladiators (10-4) in three games in the regular season.

"She is a phenomenal player," Reservoir's second-year coach, Carole Ferrante, said.

"She not only plays great offense, but she is a strong digger and plays great defense. She makes really smart choices."

In addition to Thomas, the Gators got strong hitting and outstanding overall play from Burke, Nicole Lanham, setter Jamie Huffman and libero Alex Kuper.

The Gladiators came ready to play last night and dominated the first game, winning by 11 as Stephanie Natale delivered seven of her match-high 21 kills.

Despite nagging tendinitis, Natale consistently delivered power shots. Alyssa Geisler and Dana Gittings had 10 and nine kills, respectively, and setter Becky Schmidt had made 34 assists.

Reservoir led the entire fourth game and had an 18-12 lead before the Gladiators took their first lead at 22-21, only to lose 25-23. A serving error and kills by Burke and Lanham enabled the Gators to force the fifth game.

"It's not over until it's over, and hopefully we will get back to play them one more time and it will be awful hard to beat us three times in a row," Glenelg coach Don Beall said of a possible third game with the Gators in the 2A South regional final. Glenelg is defending 2A state champion.

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