Chasing a title

Dragons set to battle General McLane for District 10 supremacy

It’s never a bad thing to be labeled a ‘team of destiny,’ and one could certainly argue that is what Warren is after a thrilling 3-2 comeback win in the District 10 3A semifinals against Villa on Thursday.

The term sometimes implies that there is an element of surprise to the result, which is where it would be false in this case.

The Dragons are good, very good, in fact and they will get the chance to win their first District 10 championship in program history when they battle General McLane today at 1 p.m. (Corry High School).

It won’t be like Thursday, when the General McLane students joined in with the Flannel Panel in cheering on the Dragons. No, this is for a championship, and you can bet both fan bases with be loud.

The Lancers have not lost in the regular season and have just a pair of 2-set setbacks in tournament play to defending Class 2A state champion Corry, as well as St. Marys.

Warren is a very balanced team both offensively and defensively and features a mix of youth and experience.

Lydia Latimer, Ellie Lobdell, Grace Wortman, Celia Chase and Jordan Sitler, three juniors a sophomore and a freshman, have led the attack offensively.

Sophomore setter Lex Nyquist stepped in at the start of the season and has been phenomenal, constantly putting her hitters in good position.

Kelsey Dilks and Julia Lobdell have provided steady defense, while Dilks and fellow seniors Jessie Sweigart and Emily Hannak have provided strong leadership.

It’s a team that is playing its best volleyball of the season right now.

What’s even more impressive is that they showed an ability to come from behind against Villa, something they really haven’t had to do this season, often winning matches 3-0.

“Even after being down 0-2, we still believed,” coach Mike Dolan said after the win over Villa.

“We’ve had to figure out how to win this season and the girls are mentally tough.”

The Lancers are led by senior Maddie Soboleski, who has 187 kills on the season, more than double the next closest on her team, senior Mia Schaller.

Defensively, Schaller leads the team with 117 digs, while senior setter Hailey Ingalls has notched 240 assists.

The two teams did meet back in early September at the Fort LeBoeuf tournament, playing one set, a 25-20 GM win.

Conneaut, whom GM beat 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-189) in the semifinals, is another common opponent, as was Villa, with GM notching a 3-1 (21-25, 25-19, 31-29, 25-16) win on Oct. 17.

In the third set alone against Conneaut, Soboleski had 11 kills, 4 blocks, 5 digs and 2 aces.

District 10 only takes the champion to the state playoffs, which begins on Tuesday.

The winner today will face the No. 3 team out of the WPIAL, either Thomas Jefferson or West Allegheny. They play a third-place match today at 6 p.m. at Baldwin High School.