Up 2-0, Reservoir lets title slip away

North East rallies for 2A championship

Volleyball

November 19, 2006|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- After wining the first two games of yesterday's state Class 2A volleyball final at Ritchie Coliseum, the No. 2 Reservoir Gators got a little ahead of themselves.

The Gators pulled out two close games and then suffered a third-game letdown that never ended.

North East took advantage of Reservoir's mistakes and got 16 kills each from Michelle Boyd and Brooke Foskey as they slowly built the momentum and the confidence to take a 22-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18, 15-8 victory for a sixth state championship.

"It got to our heads," Gators senior Jamie Thomas said. "We were up two games and we were one step closer to being a champion, but it just got in our heads. We went out there just playing safe, playing that it was already our game and things didn't fall our way."

Despite 15 kills from Thomas and eight each from Rachel Burke and Nicole Lanham, the Gators (19-2) didn't bring the same game that had driven their success all season. Instead of adding their first state title to their trophy case, they settle for the Howard County championship and the regional championship.

"We played panic ball instead of our volleyball," Reservoir coach Carole Ferrante said. "This North East team did not see our team. They didn't see our extremely strong defensive team. They didn't see our hitting team. They didn't see our serving - I don't even want to know how many serving errors we had."

Early on, it wasn't so bad. In the first game, which was tied 17 times, the Gators pulled out the victory by scoring the final three points, game-point on an ace by Julie Poston. They led early in the second game and fought off their Cecil County foe to win on a kill by Susie Kemp.

After that, the Gators struggled with serving and passing and fell behind early in each of the last three games. Several times, they let balls drop between players and didn't seem to be communicating well.

Six Reservoir serving errors helped the Indians (18-2) build a 20-14 lead in the third game. In the fifth game, the Gators rallied to within 8-7, but two hitting errors and two aces by Boyd put the game almost out of reach.

"We definitely did not play our best today ... but this season has been unbelievable," said Thomas, whose Gators defeated Centennial and defending 2A champion Glenelg three times. "It would have been the best if we had won states, but you can't always have what you want."

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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