Youngsville volleyball falls to Ridgway; Ike bested by Mercyhurst

Youngsville’s Mallory Sherrard (5) tips the ball over the net during the first set of a match against Ridgway at Youngsville High School, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. The Elkers came away with a 25-10, 25-8 and 25-23 win over the Eagles.

Just when it seemed the Youngsville volleyball team was starting to settle in to its match with visiting Ridgway Monday, things took a sudden turn.

Trailing 3-1 in the opening set, the Eagles appeared to have won a long volley. Unfortunately, they ended up losing both the point and their starting setter and the Elkers went on to claim a 25-10, 25-8 and 25-23 sweep.

“That was a major buzzkill,” Youngsville coach Victoria Montecalvo said. “We couldn’t get into the rotation to get Amber (Evans) at setter.”

During the volley, starting setter Jena Wilson sprinted towards the bench to save an errant pass. She was able to make the play, but suffered a knee injury and was unable to return. Because the Eagles alerted officials during the volley of the injury, they ruled the point-which would have gone to Youngsville-would be replayed. Ridgway was up 4-1 and took advantage of multiple Youngsville errors to quickly go up 10-2.

“We didn’t make them work for points,” Montecalvo said. “It’s always been a struggle to get out of that negative mentality.”

Youngsville’s Kamryn Weissinger (22) puts a kill down the line during the third set of a match against Ridgway at Youngsville High School, Monday

Ridgway never relented and won the first set, 25-10.

Youngsville kept the second set close through the early going, but was unable to string many points together as the set wore on and the Elkers pulled away for the win.

The Elkers looked like they were going to run away with the third set, as they raced out to an 8-1 lead. The Eagles answered with a 5-0 run. Ridgway responded with a small run, but Youngsville pulled to within three at 10-7. The Elkers scored the next four points and Montecalvo called a timeout.

“I told them to have fun,” she said. “We have nothing to lose so play your game.”

The Eagles responded.

Kamryn Weissinger slammed a kill down the line for the first point out of the break. Mikayla Eyler stepped to the line and promptly served an ace. Mallory Sherrard got in on the action with a block on the next point to make it 14-10. Ridgway fought back and held an 18-12 lead. Youngsville responded with another 5-0 run to foce a timeout with the Elkers leading 18-17. The Eagles tied the set at 18 and the teams went back-and-forth to another tie at 21-21. Youngsville took its first lead of the match at 22-21.

Ridgway settled in and put the match away with a 25-23 win.

“We have skill,” Montecalvo said. “When we play our game, it’s beautiful.”

Andrea Sveda had 10 blocks for the Eagles.

“Andrea was a blocking machine,” Montecalvo said.

Ridgway won the junior varsity match, 25-9, 15-25 and 15-4.

“The girls are starting to come out of their shell,” Youngsville assistant coach Sarah Dwyer said.

Youngsville hosts Erie First Christian Thursday.

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Ike falls in 5

ERIE, Pa. – Eisenhower volleyball coach Scott Olson knew the first half of the season would be a learning experience for his young squad.

The Knights nearly expedited that learning curve quickly Monday night. Eisenhower went on the road and came up just short in a five set thriller at Mercyhurst Prep, 25-27, 27-25, 25-12, 20-25 and 15-5.

“I’ve told them, the first half of the season is all a learning experience,” Olson said. “Learning to enjoy their teammates, enjoy playing, not worrying about mistakes and making plays to the best of their ability. Tonight was a really good example of (the match) didn’t go our way, but it goes a long way in helping us grow and learn as a team.”

A back-and-forth first game set the tone for the match. The Lakers jumped out to an early lead, but the Knights came back to hold the advantage. And so it went until Eisenhower put the match away in extra points.

The Knights carried that momentum through the early part of the second set. The Lakers were able to find a way back and won it in extra points.

“The first game was pretty seesaw the whole game, but we pulled it out,” Olson said. “We held the lead in the second, but gave it up. We just didn’t have enough leadership to pull it through. We’re really young and everyone’s looking for someone else to make a play. They didn’t want to be the one to give up the lead.”

Mercyhurst Prep rolled through the third set, but the Knights regrouped to take control of the fourth. Eisenhower was up 20-12 at one point. The Lakers tried to come back, but the Knights were able to put the set away to force a decisive fifth.

“That third game, we were tentative,” Olson said. “We were shellshocked by the game two loss and they steamrolled us for the most part. We came out strong in the fourth and did what we wanted to do.”

The Knights’ inexperience showed in the fifth as the Lakers were able to roll to a 15-5 win.

“The last game, you could tell they were nervous,” Olson said.

Though young, it was the seniors who led the way for the Knights. Currie Hultman had 14 kills, 22 digs and 13 aces, while Emiley Wheeler returned to the lineup and had 10 kills, 11 digs and two blocks.

“It was nice to get Wheeler back,” Olson said. “Currie and her do a nice job of keeping everyone calm.”

Freshman setter Rayna Hultman had three kills, two aces and five digs to go along with her 24 assists.

“I’m absolutely thrilled, especially with the freshmen play,” Olson said. “(Hultman) is exceeding expectations every night and (Lilly Smyth) has stepped up big time.”

Mercyhurst Prep won the junior varsity match, 25-11 and 25-18.

Destiny Nelson had two aces and three assists, Phoebe Tower added a pair of kills and Faith Donnell had three aces and three kills.

The Knights return home Thursday when they host cross county rival Tidioute.

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Ike solid at Franklin Tournament

FRANKLIN, Pa. – Despite being without its two starting middle hitters, the Eisenhower volleyball team had a solid showing at the Franklin Tournament Saturday.

The Lady Knights finished second in their pool, then defeated Oil City before being knocked out of the tournament by Keystone. Minus the two starters, Eisenhower played the day with one senior and six freshmen and sophomores.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these girls and how they overcame the adversity that hit them this early in the season,” Eisenhower coach Scott Olson said. “Overall, we have a young team and they stepped up today to learn just a little bit more about how good we can really be.”

With senior starters Madi Green and Emiley Wheeler out of the lineup, Eisenhower turned to freshmen Rayna Hultman and Lilly Smyth with sophomores Hannah Newcamp, Paige Edwards, Macey Eiler and Bridgette Gourley to team with senior Currie Hultman.

“I am really excited about this group,” Olson said. “I can’t wait to see what we can do once we get Emiley and Madi back. Until then, I know that I have able bodies to fill positions and play well.”

The group defeated Venango Catholic three times and fell four times to Lakeview and once to VC in pool play.

This earned the Knights the second seed out of their pool. Eisenhower defeated Oil City, 25-18, in the first round.

The Knights then met 1-seed Keystone in the quarterfinals and fell 25-15 to end the day.

“This day was a good learning experience for everyone,” Olson said.