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Fitch wins district

By Joe Scalzo

Friday, October 26, 2001

The Falcons defeated Steel Valley Conference rival Boardman in two games.
STOW -- The Austintown Fitch High volleyball team used a series of rallies to win the Division I district championship Thursday night.
The Falcons scored at least five straight points four different times, winning the championship over Boardman, 15-3, 15-8, at Stow High School.
"Volleyball is a game of momentum," said Fitch coach Tom Case. "It's hard to take that away. You can call time-outs and substitute, but when the big 'Mo' is going your way, you're tough to beat."
Fitch (22-3) won its third straight district title and advanced to Wednesday's regional at 7:45 p.m. at Hudson High School.
Four defeats: Boardman finished at 21-4. All four losses came to Fitch.
"I think it's at least partly mental," said Spartan coach Ron Slipkasky. "They're a great team, but we seem to play well against everyone but Fitch."
In the first game, sophomores Maggie Case and Stacie Mang each scored five straight service points to put Fitch ahead 10-2. After Boardman closed to 10-3, Fitch junior Katie McDermott and senior Ashlee Lemke combined for the final five points.
"We're much younger than in past years," said Case. "We have three sophomores that start and that's always tough. But we've played well."
Boardman's Jaclyn Corroto and Jen Hlebovy combined to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead in the second game, but Fitch senior Megan Casey scored seven straight service points and Case later added six straight as Fitch opened up a decisive 13-5 lead.
"We played real good as a team," Case said. "Our serving was tough and our passing was good. It was a good challenge."
Leaders: McDermott added five kills, six blocks and five digs. Case had five kills and seven digs and Mang had 12 assists, a block and an ace.
Senior Mara Capraruolo led the Spartans with three points and seven kills. Hlebovy had four points, and Natalie Kreps and Lauren Craig each had two kills.
"I thought going in we had a really good chance to compete," said Slipkasky. "Fitch played very well and they showed why they're the top program in the area. But it's the best season we've had and it was a nice showcase for our area [in the district]."
Fitch advanced to the state tournament two years ago and lost in last year's regional semifinal. Playing Boardman gave the Falcons a chance to see some better competition heading into regionals, Case said.
It also gave them bragging rights.
"Someone told me that when you beat a team three times, you'll lose the fourth time," said Fitch senior Jessica DiCarlo. "This showed that person was wrong."
When asked if that means Fitch is the better team, DiCarlo smiled.
"Yeah, you could write that," she said.