It took a little under an hour for Somerset to defeat Bedford for the District 5 Class AA volleyball crown Thursday at Somerset High School.
The Golden Eagles, who will play the District 9 runner-up, either Bradford or Punxsutawney, at 1 p.m. Saturday in a PIAA Sub-Regional at Elk County Catholic in St. Marys, downed the Bisons 25-14, 25-9, 25-19.
It was the first district title for first-year coach Alix Rose, who played for the Golden Eagles (16-4).
“This championship is something they are never going to forget especially since most of my players are seniors,” Coach Rose said. “I’ve been around this program forever. I played and unfortunately when I played, we never won a championship. Since I’ve been back coaching, now I’ve gotten to win.
“My dad, Ed, taught me so much about volleyball and I owe part of it to him, but these girls are unbelievable. They work their butts off. All summer long, they worked hard for me.”
Somerset trailed just once in the match, in the third game.
After a tie at 1 in the first game, the Eagles reeled off four straight points off the serve of Julie Barron, who finished the match with five aces, to take a 5-1 lead. The Bisons pulled to within two, 12-10, but could get no closer.
In the second game, the Eagles rolled to an 8-0 advantage before Bedford got on the board and Somerset sailed to the set win.
But the Bisons battled back in the third, the most competitive of the three games, taking a 3-2 lead before Somerset reasserted itself.
“We could not get any momentum going for the first two sets,” Bedford coach Rodney Berkey said. “We did get some momentum going in that third set but it was too little, too late. The girls really pulled together in that last set and decided to play some good, decent volleyball.
“We had problems getting our serve receive, our first pass up to the setter. I can’t take anything away from Somerset. They move extremely well to the ball. They do a good job of getting their ball up to the setter and they do a good job of taking care of things. We were able to adjust after a while and play some good defense. But we have to have all aspects, especially at this level. We had worked on some of the things that we needed to and I saw some improvement, but we just weren’t able to execute our game plan.”
Rose thought the Bisons played well against her squad in the third game.
“We took a back seat and thought we had it in the bag and they gave us a little bit of a challenge,” Rose said. “Bedford came in here and I know their record wasn’t that great this year, but they weren’t giving up and that was nice to see.”
Mikayla Shaffer had five kills and Lauren Fedorchak had five blocks for Bedford.
Maddy Ream had 12 digs, Molly Hoover had four blocks and Jenna Coyle had 10 kills for Somerset.
“I told the girls in the locker room that we’ve been waiting all season to put it all together and tonight I really think they did it,” Rose said. “I think what is really neat about our team is that we don’t have one girl that is a standout gun. If they shut one of them down, we just go to the next one. I don’t think that people know who to block. No matter who we give it to, they can hit and that really helps us out. I think we’ve had a pretty strong hitting team all season long.
“We will go up to St. Mary’s and play our game and see what happens.”