It was a long drive drive to Shanksville-Stonycreek High School from Meadville on Tuesday night.
For the Bulldogs volleyball squad, it was well worth the journey to their PIAA Class AA first-round contest. Meadville defeated District 5 champion Somerset in straight sets 25-21, 25-19, 25-15.
“We left at 2 p.m. and drove down here, stopping to get something to eat,” said Meadville coach Tammy Webber, whose team will play District 7 champion Mars, a 3-1 winner over Indiana, on Saturday at a site and time to be determined. “We are on a mission and this is part of that mission. We have four seniors that are seasoned. They’ve been to states and this is where they want to be again.”
The Golden Eagles (18-4) led in the early part of the first game, but after ties at 5 and 7, the Bulldogs took the lead, with seven kills from Leah Jones and three by Monica Jackson.
Somerset again led early in the second game, but after a tie at 3, Meadville again took over and rolled to the victory.
The pattern remained the same in the third, with the Golden Eagles leading early. After a tie at 10, the Bulldogs never trailed again.
“We never could get ahead,” Somerset coach Alix Rose said. “In three games, we were ahead only a few times. Maybe I’m superstitious, but when you can’t get ahead, it’s never a good outcome.
“We weren’t communicating with one another. We got down early on and I think we lost our confidence and we couldn’t get that back. We started making mistakes that we haven’t all season like letting the ball drop between two hitters and not going after the ball.”
Rose said her team had a lot of information on Meadville and spent all day Monday practicing.
“We had a game plan and we just couldn’t execute it tonight,” the Somerset coach said. “I told the girls in the locker room that all of them had to show up to play and that didn’t happen tonight. All of our hitters were in the negative but one and when you get to the state playoffs you can’t be making those mistakes that you don’t normally do. It’s a little disappointing. I asked them win or lose to give me everything they had out on the court and unfortunately they didn’t do that tonight.”
Janna Coyle had 12 digs and Maddy Ream had 13 assists for Somerset. Mackenzie McKee had eight kills while Sarah Mitchell and Julie Barron combined for six blocks for the Golden Eagles.
“We had a great run this year,” Rose said. “We just didn’t show up to play tonight.”
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