Warren's girls volleyball team pressed Region 4 first-place Titusville to the limit on Thursday at Warren Area High School.
The 3-1 loss most likely eliminated Warren (5-5 overall and 5-4 in region) from playoff contention, but the Dragons showed tremendous heart and a will to win against the Rockets who are undefeated (9-0) in region play.
"I'm disappointed to lose," said Warren coach Mike Dolan, "but I'm happy with the way we fought."
Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg
Warren’s Nerissa McIntyre, left, and Valerie Latimer, right, block an attempted kill from a Titusville player during their girls volleyball match Thursday at Warren Area High School.
Game one set the tempo for how the rest of the match would play out. Warren quickly jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but Titusville came right back to tie the game at 9-9. The Dragons then went on a 5-3 run to take a 14-12 lead before Titusville answered with a 6-3 run to gain an 18-17 advantage. Warren tied the game at 19-19, but Titusville scored five straight to get to game point, 24-19. The Dragons answered by scoring six straight to take a 25-24 lead. Back and forth the teams went; Titusville tieing the game at 25-25, Warren tieing the game at 26-26, then the Rockets at 27-27, back to the Dragons at 28-28. Titusville finally managed to get consecutive points and came away with a 32-30 win.
As is often the case after a grueling game, the team on the winning end came out with all the momentum. With the game tied at 4-4, the Rockets went on a 5-1 run to gain a 9-5 advantage and force the Dragons to call for a timeout. The break in action did little to slow the Rockets' momentum though as they would only allow the Dragons to collect two more points in a 25-7 win.
"We were down in game two," Dolan said. "We just couldn't get back into it."
Warren found its stride in game three going on a 6-0 run to build a 15-9 lead. The Rockets rallied to get within three at 16-13, but the Dragons went on a 4-1 run to make it 20-16. Warren held off a late rally and won 25-20 to avoid the sweep.
Titusville started quickly in game four, racing out to a 5-2 lead. Warren rallied to go up 9-6. The Rockets came right back to tie the game at 9-9. The Dragons took the next point to go up 10-9, and wouldn't let the Rockets tie the game again until 21-21. Warren took a timeout down 24-22, and with Titusville preparing to serve. The Rockets' serve hit just inside the back line to end the game and give Titusville the 3-1 win.
"I told the girls that this (game) is something we can learn from," Dolan said. "We played tough at the end of each game and didn't press."
Valerie Latimer led the Dragons with 10 kills and four blocks. Rachel Hasselman added eight kills and Ashley Barker chipped in with 12 assists while McKenzie Merenick had 23 digs.
Dolan said that even in the loss, the effort and desire that his team showed against a good team will help boost confidence.
Titusville won the JV contest, 25-21 and 25-16. Meghan Loutzenhiser had five digs and three kills and Rachel Lobdell added three kills in the loss.
St. Mary's 3, Sheffield 0
Sheffield's girls volleyball fell to visiting St. Mary's 3-0 on Thursday, but coach Tracey Vile felt this was her team's best performance to date.
"This was the first time all year I've seen them play so well as a team," Vile said. "This was a tough opponent and we were close all three games until the end."
St. Mary's won by scores of 25-16, 25-15 and 25-19. Juli Ely led the Wolverines with seven points and seven kills, while Hannah Vile added eight assists.
"We put in some new plays and new strategies and the girls really came together with that," Vile said. "Our whole serve receive corps worked well together, especially under the new conditions. That hasn't always been the case, but they're really coming around now."
St. Mary's also won the JV match 25-19 and 25-22. Morgan Leichtenberger had seven points for Sheffield.
Erie First Christian 3, TCCS 0
Tidioute Community Charter School held its second annual Pink Out Thursday at TCCS. While the Lady Bulldogs delivered an inspired performance during the event - intended to raise breast cancer awareness - it was Erie First Christian who left town with a 3-0 win.
TCCS was in each and every set of the match, dropping the first two sets by identical 22-25 scores while Erie First pulled out a 25-18 victory in game three. TCCS spotted the Eagles a 9-0 lead in the second set of the match and couldn't recover and build a big lead in the third set before Erie First roared back.
On Senior Night, the Bulldogs' three seniors led the team in nearly every statistical category. Loralee Lindemuth finished with eight kills, Lacy Wolford had two kills, two aces and 10 digs and Mikayla Mohrey added three aces. Anna Lindemuth had a team-best eight aces as well as four kills in defeat.
TCCS (3-5) also dropped the junior varsity match, 15-25, 19-25. Morgan Molek had seven aces and two assists, Kendra Sauers had one aces and Ryleigh Mahaney had one kill and one ace.
WCCS 3, Erie Bethel 0
ERIE - Warren County Christian School finished in a first-place tie atop the New Penn Christian Conference regular season standings after a dominating 3-0 victory over Erie Bethel on Thursday.
WCCS (12-1) cruised through game one 25-15 before easy 25-7 and 25-4 wins to close out the match.
The NPCC season ending tournament gets underway Tuesday with WCCS hosting a quarterfinal match against Jamestown Bethel.
According to WCCS coach Monica Kerr, the Lions' victory on Thursday was a "total team effort." Christina Girard finished with six service points, two aces, six kills and 19 assists and Rachel Wilkins added six service points, one ace and four kills.
Also contributing for WCCS were Alyssa Kerr with 14 service points, six aces and four kills, Dymphee Zortman with 13 service points, five aces and four kills, Kaitlyn Wiedner with four service points and 13 kills, Jessica Lauffenburger with six kills and Whitney Poindexter with 14 service points and two aces.
Youngsville 3, Rocky Grove 0
Youngsville didn't let Rocky Grove take a single game this time around.
The Lady Eagles swept Rocky Grove, 25-12, 25-13, 25-15, on Thursday at Eisenhower High School. That makes three wins in four matches for 4-6 Youngsville, playing much better of late.
"We are starting to play a lot more solid, and they are playing with a little more intensity," said Youngsville coach Terry Schrader, who said it was like the Eagles turned on a light switch to improved play.
"It was (a loss) against Titusville (that started it)," said Schrader. "There was nothing changed in practice, they just flipped the switch. Ever since Titusville we've been playing really strong."
After Class A Youngsville lost 3-2 to the top Class AA team in the region, the Eagles have beaten Sheffield in a non-league match, and Eisenhower and Rocky Grove in the region. The Eagles are still behind Eisenhower for the top Class A playoff spot in the region, but not for a lack of playing well.
The one loss in that stretch was to second-place Franklin on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Savanna Schoedel had 21 service points, including 10 in game two and eight in game three, and 17 digs. Abby McLaughlin had eight kills, Amber Fox 22 assists and Julie Jameson 12 digs.
In a 25-19, 25-19 junior varsity win for Youngsville, Samantha Anthony had eight service points and Emily McChesney six points.