Eisenhower falls to Saegertown

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Eisenhower’s Tess Morningstar goes up for a block during a match against Saegertown at Eisenhower High School, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Morningstar had three kills and two blocks as the Knights were swept by the Panthers.

Philadelphia 76ers fans have adopted the phrase “trust the process” as the team attempts to rebuild itself into a contender.

Eisenhower volleyball coach Scott Olson isn’t exactly asking his players to “trust the process” following a 25-18, 25-20 and 25-14 sweep at the hands of visiting Saegertown Thursday, but the theory is close.

“(Losing) is just what we’re used to doing,” he said. “We’re still looking for some answers. We played better than we did Tuesday, but the moral victories are getting hard to take. The girls want to win.”

Olson said he can see “the light at the end of the tunnel” as his team’s competitiveness has grown through the season.

“We’re experiencing some growing pains,” he said. “But we only have one player playing in the same position they did last year. New positions, new system, everything is new. We just can’t lose sight of our goal.”

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Eisenhower’s Emily Wheeler goes up for a kill during a match against Saegertown at Eisenhower High School, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Wheeler had three kills in the match, but the Knights were swept by the Panthers, 25-18, 25-20 and 25-14.

The competitiveness took a short time to kick in Thursday night.

Saegertown jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead to start the first set, but Eisenhower rallied to take the next three points. The Panthers answered with an 8-1 run, forcing Olson to call a timeout with his team trailing 12-4.

The Panthers, one of four teams along with Maplewood, Cochranton and Cambridge Springs considered Region 3 favorites, methodically added points to build a 21-9 advantage. The Knights continued to battle, getting the score to 22-17. Unforced errors eventually led to Eisenhower’s downfall as Saegertown won the set 25-18, with the set point coming off an Eisenhower service error.

“We need to cut down our unforced errors and increase our earned points,” Olson said.

After trading points early in the second set, Saegertown built a 19-13 lead. Eisenhower went on a 5-0 run to make it 19-18 and force a Panthers timeout. The break worked to effectively end the momentum as Saegertown closed the set with a 6-2 run and 25-20 win.

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Cameran Edwards receives a serve for Eisenhower during a match against Saegertown at Eisenhower High School, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Edwards finished with nine digs and five kills for the Knights in a 3-0 loss.

“We’re comfortable coming from behind,” Olson said. “Aggressiveness is not in our nature yet.”

The Knights were aggressive to open the third set and it paid off as they raced out to an early 5-2 lead. The unforced errors again cost Eisenhower as Saegertown was able to come back and gain an 11-9 advantage, forcing a timeout. The Panthers were unfazed by the break as they came out of the timeout and went on a 7-1 run. The Knights’ visible frustration grew as the unforced errors piled up. Eisenhower was able to tack on a few more points, but Saegertown completed the sweep with a 25-14 win.

Cameran Edwards led the Knights with nine digs, five kills and two aces. Caroline Hishman had 10 assists, while Emily Wheeler and Tess Morningstar had two blocks each.

“Wheeler had a great game for us tonight, and Tess was really good in the middle,” Olson said.

Eisenhower has finished what Olson called “the meat grinder” portion of the schedule and travels to Union City Tuesday.“We expect them to be good, but we scrimmaged them and thought they were a team we could play with,” Olson said. “Now we need to compete.”

JV EISENHOWER 2, SAEGERTOWN 1

Eisenhower’s junior varsity team came back from a first set loss to win the JV contest 11-25, 25-21 and 16-14.

Catrina Edwards had four kills and seven digs, while Delaney Chase added seven assists, four digs and five aces in the win.

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MAPLEWOOD 3, YOUNGSVILLE 0

Region 3 powerhouse and state-ranked Maplewood was as advertised Thursday in a 25-6, 25-5 and 25-13 sweep at Youngsville.

Eagles coach Barb Lutton said she was “100 percent impressed” with the way Maplewood’s players carried themselves, but there were some things she saw from her own team that impressed her as well.

“We had a lot of great digs from the entire team,” she said. “Their confidence is on the rise. It was nice to see them believe they can compete with a team like that.”

Emma Marino led the Eagles with nine kills and six service points (including two aces). Amber McAfoose had five kills and five blocks while Taylor Walters had four kills and six service points. Freshman Cameron Weisinger saw front row action in the third game and came away with two kills.

“Our freshmen bring a promising future for the team with still well over half the season to compete,” Lutton said.

Youngsville travels to Saegertown Tuesday.

JV: MAPLEWOOD 2, YOUNGSVILLE 0

Maplewood won the junior varsity match 25-6 and 25-18.

Mallory Sherrard had six service points and two kills, with Andrea Sveda adding three service points and two kills, and Jenna Wilson chipping in six service points and four assists in the loss.

“I’m really happy with how we stepped up in second game,” said junior varsity coach Vicky Straub.

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