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Mendham, West Morris in final

Featured West Morris volleyball players celebrate their win over Morristown in the MCT semifinals. Photos by Maryann Harlow West Morris volleyball players celebrate their win over Morristown in the MCT semifinals.
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RANDOLPH _ Melissa Krueger's serves aren't deceptive or packed with power.

What they are is accurate and consistent.

That's why second-seeded West Morris felt confident when Krueger, its senior setter, rotated into the service spot in the second game of its Morris County Tournament semifinal with the Wolfpack trailing, 20-18.

Krueger reeled off four consecutive service points, including the one that put West Morris up, 21-20, on the way to its 25-21 second-game victory over No. 11 Morristown. The Wolfpack won more easily in the first game of the set, 25-14.

"I can get the ball in play when it needs to be," said Krueger, who had six service points in the decisive game and three in the opener on Saturday, Oct. 25.

Before serving the ball, Krueger bounces it three times and takes a deep breath. The routine has worked well.

"Melissa does the job," Wolfpack outside hitter Gabby Savite said. "She gets the ball in. We trust her behind the line."

After cruising through the opening game, West Morris seemed on track to do the same in the second game. The Wolfpack, who will face sister school Mendham for the title on Saturday, Nov. 1 at County College of Morris, pulled in front, 8-3. Morristown then tallied eight unanswered points. It evened the score, 8-8, on a block by sophomore Kayla Bush.

Morristown widened its lead to 16-12 and stayed ahead by two or three points. Danielle Wohning's kill brought West Morris within two, 19-17. Each team served into the net for 20-18. The Colonials hit the ball wide and long, enabling the Wolfpack, ousted by Montville in the quarterfinals last season, to knot the score, 20-20.

West Morris gained the advantage when Savite hammered a kill and Alexa Shello followed with a well-placed kill to the sideline. Savite had her ninth and last kill for 23-21. Morristown hit two more errant shots and the Wolfpack prevailed.

"After the first game, I think we didn't feel we had to play as hard because we won by a lot," Krueger said. "We realized we had to step it up. We connected better and knew where each other was. We were more aware of our surroundings."

Savite, headed to DeSales or Muhlenburg, felt West Morris (19-4) emerged victorious because it consists of "strong-willed players."

"We didn't want to get taken down early," she said. "I figured we'd bounce back. I had faith. It's great to be back in the final. Hopefully, we'll go out with a bang."

The Wolfpack players wore red, white and blue ribbons on the laces of their sneakers to represent America and show that they're united.

"That's how we win championships," Savite added.

Morristown, which struggled early this season when outside hitters Fara Cohen and Judy Errichetti and middle Abby Schubiger were hurt, went from 6-8 to 14-10 by winning eight of its 10 matches going into the MCT semifinals.

"We've come a long way," Colonials coach Bill Condon said. "We weren't ending points. We've been passing more. You can't take away from West Morris. They did a great job. Our offense didn't convert."

West Morris was dominant in the first game, building a 13-5 advantage. In addition, the Wolfpack benefited from Morristown's errors. The Colonials, buoyed by Allison Remler's eight assists and Bush's three kills and three blocks, fell behind by as many as 12 points.

The defending champion Minutemen advanced to the final by ousting Roxbury, 17-25, 25-23, 26-24.

Last modified onSunday, 25 October 2015 00:41
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