Girls volleyball: F.S. Key rallies to beat Marriotts Ridge

North Caroline sweeps Eastern Tech

November 17, 2009|By Mike Frainie | Special to The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — Almost every day in practice, Francis Scott Key coach Tim Walsh plays a mental game with his players. He has them imagine they are down by five or more points, and has them rally.

That strategy served the seventh-ranked Eagles (18-1) well Monday night, as Key rallied from an 18-10 deficit in the third game to defeat No. 11 Marriotts Ridge (12-7), 28-26, en route to a 25-14, 25-16, 28-26 triumph in the Class 2A state volleyball semifinals at the University of Maryland. The Eagles advance to Saturday's noon state championship, where they will face North Caroline from Caroline County. The Bulldogs defeated Eastern Tech, 25-22, 25-11, 25-17, in the other semifinal.

Key dominated the first two games, but Marriotts Ridge, playing in its first volleyball state tournament game, took a big lead in the third. The Mustangs went up 18-10 after a block by Marybeth Poulton. The Eagles, who will play for the school's sixth volleyball championship Saturday, came roaring back. Key gradually began to take control of the net and did a good job of keeping the ball away from the 6-foot-1 Poulton at the net. The Eagles finally tied the match at 20-20, and the teams traded points until an unforced error by the Mustangs ended the match, 28-26.

Christine Isenberg led Key with 14 kills and 10 digs, while fellow senior Kellee Stonesifer contributed 10 kills and 28 digs. Poulton led the Mavericks with 10 kills, while Megan Lucas and Faith Katsman contributed 15 digs each.

"We did a really good job of picking up the short balls and the tips tonight," Isenberg said. "I think we got a little ahead of ourselves and got complacent" in the third game.

In the second match, Eastern Tech (14-3) mounted a challenge in the first game before falling 25-22. Gradually, however, the bigger and more aggressive Bulldogs (18-0) began to assert themselves. The Mavericks took an early lead in the third game but could not hold it.

Jackie Buswell had 14 kills to lead North Caroline, while Stephanie Bates had eight kills and Danielle Cockey had eight digs to lead the Mavericks.

"They never let us get comfortable," Eastern Tech coach Michael Colonna said. "We gave them too many points, and you can't expect to win when you do that."

Francis Scott Key def. Marriotts Ridge, 25-14, 25-16, 28-26; North Caroline def. Eastern Tech, 25-22, 25-11, 25-17

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