(October 16, 2014)PETTISVILLE- The age old saying goes something like this; “It’s hard to beat a team three times in the same year”. While that statement often holds true, it wasn’t the case in the Sectional Semi-final encounter between BBC foes Pettisville and North Central.
The Blackbirds, who completed the conference schedule unscathed with a record of 10-0, had to fend off a determined effort from the Lady Eagles. However, the hosts were able to defeat their league counterparts in three games.
In game one, Pettisville jumped out to a substantial early lead. Behind solid serving and attacking, and some serving errors by the Eagles, the Blackbirds cruised to a 25-10 victory.
The three minute break between games appeared to allow North Central to compose themselves as they jumped out to 3-1 lead in game two. However, Pettisville responded to the Eagle run and then some behind some solid hitting and defense running off 12 unanswered points to build 13-3 advantage. The two teams battled back and forth for the rest of game two, but numerous successful attacks by the trio of Jordyn Pursel, Dana Fricke, and Amber Klopfenstein were too much for North Central to counter as the Blackbirds took the game by a final of 25-13.
With Pettisville just one win away from advancing to the Sectional final, North Central wasn’t about to give up without a fight. The exchange of points that ended game two started over in game three. North Central clawed and scratched their way to a 12-11 lead, only to see Pettisville run off five straight to take a 16-12 advantage. The trading of points occurred once again with the Blackbirds finally moving just one point away from the Sectional final as the scoreboard read 24-16. The Eagles scored two consecutive points, but inevitably the Blackbirds got the one they needed to down North Central and win the final game of the match 25-18.
Following the contest Pettisville Head Coach John Horning shared his thoughts. “The girls have worked very hard this season and it has been a lot of fun to see them improve and grow as a team. I thought we played very solid defensively and serving 93% is a good number for us. I felt we kept ourselves in a lot points with good hustle and decisions. I also like the fact we got a lot of good touches at the net defensively.” Although very happy with the win, Horning was not content with all facets of the Blackbirds performance. “We need to be a little more consistent attacking at the net with our setters and hitters. I also think our communication needs to be stronger and more consistent.”
With the win Pettisville’s record moves to 18-5 overall. Up next for the Blackbirds is the Edgerton Bulldogs who downed Edon. When asked about his team’s opponent for the Sectional final, Horning shared. “We played Edgerton over a month ago in a tri-match at Liberty Center. We won in two very competitive games with scores of something like 25-21 and 25-19. I know we have improved quite a bit since then and would assume Edgerton has too. Karen (Meister) always has her teams ready to compete and they also hustle all over the floor. We will need to bring our “A” game to be successful Saturday night.”
Once again Pettsiville was led by the dynamic senior duo of Fricke and Pursel. Fricke ended the night with a solid stat line of 13 kills, 3 aces, and 13 digs. Pursel was equally impressive accumulating 15 kills, 2 aces and 15 digs, while Klopfenstein added 5 more kills to the total. Kate Kauffman made many of the kills possible as the junior setter was a perfect 32-32 setting with 20 assists. Carly Bontrager contributed to the number of successful hits as she finished 14-14 setting with 10 assists. Teagan Kauffman added 12 digs and 3 aces, while libero Stephanie Hubby filled her roll of defensive specialist admirably by adding 15 digs.
Although coming out on the short end on the scoreboard, North Central, whose season comes to an end at 1-22 overall has nothing to be ashamed of after the effort put forth in the match. Eagle Head Coach Stacy Roth shared her feelings. “Even though the record doesn’t show it, the Lady Eagles have fought hard and have come along way this season. Good job ladies!”
Sophomores Makayla Hayes and Alyssa Swank led North Central with a pair of kills, with Hayes adding 4 blocks. Senior libero Macayla Wildrick held down the back row with 7 digs, while classmate Rachel Oxender had 7 good serves for North Central.
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