Francis Scott Key wins again; No. 5 Eagles capture Carroll County tournament for 6th consecutive year; Volleyball


Another Carroll County Volleyball Tournament, another victory for Francis Scott Key.

The No. 5 Eagles won the tournament for the sixth straight year, 2-1 over South Carroll at North Carroll High School.

Key, which lost only two games in a tournament that included No. 13 Liberty and No. 16 North Carroll, fought off the upset-minded Cavaliers, 15-10, 13-15, 15-6, in the best-of-3 championship match.

Francis Scott Key (3-1) doesn't play the other Carroll County teams during the season because they compete in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League. This tournament gives Key a platform to show the rest of the county, which plays in the Central Maryland Conference, how good it can be.

"We get to show the county where we are and where we stand," Eagles' coach Alice Smith said. "It's exciting to win this tournament every year."

Samantha Stambaugh and Kim Sheedy provided most of Key's punch from the net. The duo combined for 21 kills in the championship match.

Stambaugh provided much of the scoring in the deciding game, slamming five kills.

"[South Carroll] couldn't stop [Stambaugh] in the last game," Smith said. "This is the first time she has really come on, and I hope it continues."

Stambaugh said winning this tournament is always important.

"[Winning] this never gets old," Stambaugh said. "We have four seniors on this team, and we wanted to win this for them. We were just really psyched."

The Cavaliers (1-3), who reached the title game with a 15-10 tiebreaker win over Liberty, gave the Eagles their toughest competition of the tournament. South Carroll rallied from an 11-1 deficit to within two points in the first game and won the second game after falling behind, 12-2.

"I wanted this [match] so bad because [Key] has won this so many times," the Cavaliers' Brianna Schell said. "We pushed hard, but it's tough when you always have to fight back."

Francis Scott Key's Jennifer Sawyer, who had 12 points in the championship, said it was great to win her third straight title over a worthy opponent.

"It's a lot of fun to do it over and over and over again," Sawyer said. "[South Carroll] did a great job. They were good competition for a championship game."

The Cavaliers and their fans weren't the only ones who wanted to see Francis Scott Key falter.

"The North Carroll team was rooting against us," Sheedy said. "People don't want us to win because we'd won five in a row. I didn't know that was going to happen, but we just focused on the game."

South Carroll had a 3-0 lead in the third game when the Eagles made their run. They scored 12 unanswered points, and Stambaugh ended the match with two kills in a row.

"We heard one of [the Cavaliers] say that we were down," Stambaugh said. "That's what pushed us and got us really psyched. We are awesome and have awesome players on this team."

Key earned the right to play in the championship with a 7-1 record. South Carroll and Liberty finished 5-3, with the Cavaliers taking the tiebreaker. Host North Carroll was 2-6, and Westminster finished 1-7.

Westminster won the first county tournament in 1993. The Eagles have won every tournament since then.

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