By WILL ROBINSON
11:37 PM EST, November 5, 2012
In coach Emily Crabtree’s words, Williamsport’s volleyball team “got the monkey off its back.”
The top-seeded Wildcats earned a 25-19, 25-17, 25-14 sweep of Century in the Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinals on Monday, but it was no cruise.
“I don’t know if it was because it was a Monday night game or because they were off from school today, but we weren’t on our rhythm tonight,” said Crabtree. “But we’re not going to make excuses. We still played hard and found a way to win tonight.”
It got the Wildcats over a hump they couldn’t last year when they were upset by Middletown in the region quarterfinals.
Williamsport fell behind the Knights 10-6 in the first set, thanks in large part to three kills by Haley Bordner. After a sideout, the Wildcats got four straight points on Andrea Nunnally’s service, giving the Wildcats their first lead of the match.
Century tied the match back up at 12, but four straight sideouts by the Knights gave Williamsport a comfortable lead. Three kills by Stacey Christy ended the set.
The second set was even more difficult for the Wildcats. Century tied the set at 3 on a sideout, which led to a five-point run served by McKenzi Kluge and prompted a Williamsport timeout down. The Wildcats responded with a 9-4 run to tie the set at 12 before taking the lead for good on a Century net ball.
Christy had seven kills and Haley Wolff had five service points in the set.
The Wildcats rediscovered their rhythm in the third set, starting the set on a five-point run and extending the lead to 13-4 before a Century net ball sealed the win for Williamsport.
The tandem of Christy and Emily Taylor quarterbacked Williamsport’s offense as Christy had a match-high 15 kills and eight blocks and Taylor had 27 assists. Nunnally had 17 service points and Courtney Malott had eight service points for the Wildcats.
“We try to distribute the ball but we had some hitters who weren’t on tonight, so we went to the ones who were,” Crabtree said. “Stacey’s 6-foot-2, you’ve got to use her.”
Williamsport faces either Oakdale or Poolesville in the semifinals. These Wildcats are entering uncharted territory, as no player on this year’s team has ever been past the first match of the playoffs.
“I think we need to be more consistent, but our senior leadership is important as well,” Crabtree said. “We just have to play hard. We’re the No. 1 seed. The pressure’s on us.”
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