A Sept. 27 Sports article misspelled the last name of a Paul VI Catholic High School volleyball player. The player is Kim Clum, not Kim Crum. (Published 9/28/2005)

When Paul VI Catholic won its last Washington Catholic Athletic Conference volleyball title, Kim Crum was a freshman. Now a senior, Crum's desire for another championship was clear as she helped lift the Panthers to a 20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 24-26, 20-18 victory over visiting O'Connell last night.

Crum had five kills in the deciding fifth game, including one that tied it at 18, to keep Paul VI Catholic (6-2, 6-2) in a three-way tie for second with Elizabeth Seton and O'Connell (6-2, 6-2) in the highly competitive WCAC. The Panthers dealt O'Connell, which is off to its best start in three years, its second loss in three matches.

"We really wanted this match," said Crum, who finished with a team-high 10 kills. "It's a strong rivalry between both schools. But it's also been a long time since we have dominated in the conference, and we're trying to show that we can be competitive enough to contend for a title."

Paul VI Catholic struggled in the first game as O'Connell performed superbly on defense. But the Panthers responded in the second game as Julia Moore won five consecutive points on serve. Paul VI Catholic tied the third game at 25 and pulled out the win when hitter Kaitlyn Morrell killed the ball down the sideline.

In the fourth game, the Knights recommitted to defense, and with the score tied at 24 got critical hits from Colleen Carty to help close it out. After tying the fifth game at 18, O'Connell made two critical mistakes with a hit in the net and double hit to lose.

"They got the critical kills from their outside hitters," said O'Connell Coach Michael Barnett. "It's our first match that went five sets, and I think it was unexpected, and it took its toll."

Moran Sparks Oakton

As soon as Oakton's Katie Moran entered the game, Westfield field hockey coach Terri Towle knew it was trouble.

"Make sure you mark 13!" Towle shouted.

Whether the Bulldogs covered Moran or not, it made no difference. The senior defender threaded two spectacular assists through multiple Westfield defenders, one to Katie Stokely and the other to Barbara Zendle, to help the Cougars secure a 3-1 road win.

"I'm always looking down low," Moran said. "The coaches tell the girls to go down to the baseline, to look for the passes and to be ready."

The loss ended No. 5 Westfield's reign as the lone undefeated team in the Northern Region. The Bulldogs (11-1, 3-1 AAA Concorde District) this season set a school record for wins thanks to stingy defense behind three three-year starters and strong Jefferson-transfer Allie Heon combined with a prolific offense. Prior to the game, Westfield had outscored opponents 62-7.

That offense sputtered early on yesterday thanks to fine defensive performances from Moran and junior sweeper Stephanie Light, who helped Oakton (6-2, 2-0) establish early pressure.

But in the second half, Westfield cut into the lead with its only goal of the game. Sophomore Kelli Arduini scored, but the Cougars added a goal in the final two minutes to secure the win.

Oakton graduated all of its starters from last year's district champion but proved it's not quite ready to surrender the top spot in the Concorde.

"It was very important for us to come out and show that we could play with them," Moran said. "With a team coming in undefeated, of course they're going to be confident. But we just played a great game tonight."