Marymount I-Hops To State Title Hat Trick

Marymount is a team of superstition. Wish for something or have something bad happen, you better knock on wood. Dress the same way as your last win. And whatever you do, go to IHOP before state title matches. The Sailors continued the breakfast tradition this morning and it served them well. After dropping the first game of the state Div. IV volleyball final to Menlo, they flattened the Knights like chocolate chip pancakes in the next three games. And they didn't do it syrup-titiously.

The 10-15, 15-4, 15-3, 15-10 win was Marymount's third consecutive state title, each time over Menlo. But this one was slightly different than the first two, because the nationally ranked Sailors dropped a game, the first, rather than recording the sweep.

"I was hoping that they would wake up and they did," said Marymount coach Cari Klein.

Did they ever. Behind the power of imposing middles Virginia Levanas and Liz Cvitan and the all-around excellence of setter/hitters Stesha Selsky and Jenna Dykstra, Marymount romped in Games 2 and 3. Selsky, the finals MVP, was the spark in Game 2, contributing an ace with her awesome jump serve and two point-producing attacks. Game 3 belonged to the middles, who combined for seven kills in the 15-3 triumph.

Game 4 began as a carbon copy of the two before it, as the Sailors jumped ahead of Menlo, 6-1, and appeared as if they would make quick work of the match. But reverted to what worked so well in Game 1, namely getting the ball to star sophomore Alex Fisher. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter notched an ace and three kills as the Knight clawed within 9-7.

But Marymount countered with three straight points, two on Knight errors to take control again. The match ended on another Menlo error, this time on serve-receive.

"I think we lost our composure a little bit," said Menlo coach Ryan Cooling. "We attacked them an it was like waking a sleeping dog. It was hard for us to come back from that."

Selsky led Marymount (31-4) with 14 kills, 12 digs and 24 assists. Levanas and Cvitan combined for 24 kills, while Sandy Barbut had five kills and 11 digs.

"Our middles are the best out there," Klein said. "I've never had them this strong."

Alex Fisher's 10 kills led Menlo (24-7), but she needed 50 attacks to accomplish that against the taller Sailor squad that doubled her all over the court. Hilary Bagshaw had five kills and Kate Fisher dished out 20 assists. Senior Courtney Rose contributed four digs, an amazing feat since she played with a torn ACL. She'll have surgery on Friday.

"It was my last game," she said. "It was so important for me to play. Even if I got hurt, it wouldn't have mattered to me."

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