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No. 5 F. Scott Key flexes muscle against Middletown

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Talk about making a point.

Only four days away from an opportunity to sit alone atop the Monocacy Valley Athletic League, the fifth-ranked Francis Scott Key volleyball team blitzed visiting Middletown, 15-4, 15-9, 15-1, in Union Bridge yesterday.

Senior setter Carrie Ness powered the Eagles (4-0) with 22 assists and 10 aces in the fast-paced, 60-minute victory.

The win sets up a Monday night battle between Francis Scott Key and undefeated Smithsburg (4-0 overall, 3-0 league).

"This was real important because we haven't had a lot of competition before tonight," said Eagles senior middle hitter Samantha Stambaugh, who registered a game-high 10 kills. "We were more serious and more focused tonight and that's what we need to do against Smithsburg."

As if to back up that claim, Francis Scott Key coach Alice Rau pointed out that her squad finished with a 94 percent serving rate - the team's highest mark this season.

"I think we came out real strong tonight," said Rau. "We did a nice job of picking up the ball and setting it up."

The Eagles, who have yet to drop a game, set themselves up early and often against the overmatched Knights (2-2 league and overall) of Frederick County. In the first game, Stambaugh recorded her team's first six kills to give Francis Scott Key a 5-1 lead.

Middletown recovered to win three of the next four points, but r middle hitter Adria Stonesifer slammed four of her eight spikes and outside hitter April Caprarola had two kills and two aces.

Francis Scott Key continued its torrid pace in the second game, sprinting to a 12-1 advantage. The Knights stormed to make it 13-9, but a Stonesifer spike and a Middletown error settled matters.

Ness torched the Knights with seven aces in the final game, and Francis Scott Key cruised, 15-1.

"The reason we come out so strong is we're team-oriented," Ness said. "When the team clicks well, it's easy to come out and play hard."

Middletown coach Judy Whims, whose only other loss this season was to South Hagerstown, said she thinks Francis Scott Key executes better than South Hagerstown.

"Give them some credit. Francis Scott Key is a good team," she said. "We did not play up to our potential."

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