Rustin rolls past Hen­der­son in dis­tricts

Knights drop first set, power past ri­vals

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Patrick Crossan For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia @crossan11 on Twit­ter

WESTTOWN >> In its first home play­off game in school his­tory, West Ch­ester Rustin fed off the en­ergy of its crowd to beat crosstown ri­val Hen­der­son Tuesday night, three sets to one, 16-25, 25-14, 25-16, 25-21.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause we had a huge crowd,” se­nior Amanda Fichter said. “We ex­pected a good crowd but not that many. I feel like the first game wasn’t that great but once [the crowd] picked it up then we picked it up and ev­ery­thing came to­gether.”

The Golden Knights’ stu­dent sec­tion cheered on its team to a vic­tory in the Dis­trict 1 4A play­off matchup.

After los­ing the first set, Rustin set­tled in and mo­men­tum shifted its way to sweep the next three sets.

“Hen­der­son is a tough team so you can’t un­der­es­ti­mate them,” said Rustin head coach Harry Bitzberger. “We beat them dur­ing the sea­son so we ex­pected them to come in and try to get us. We get very ex­cited early so part of our chal­lenge is to set­tle down. And once we set­tle down we get into a groove. I think we got a lit­tle too far down into the game be­fore we set­tled down.”

Sopho­more Emma Nel­son played con­sis­tently and when­ever the team needed a point she was there to pro­vide it. Nel­son

led the team in kills with 19 kills in 22 at­tempts.

Cal­lie McGin­nis lead to team with 39 as­sists and helped set up Nel­son.

Nel­son also had the game-win­ning kill to seal the game and move the Golden Knights to the next round of the playoffs.

“I think once we got Emma Nel­son in­volved,” Bitzberger said. “Emma swings re­ally well from the out­side and is an over­all good player. Once we were able to get the ball to her our pass­ing im­proved and we racked up some points.”

Hen­der­son took the first set 25-16 and cap­i­tal­ized on Rustin’s mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mis­judg­ments on a hand­ful of plays. Rustin wouldn’t take a lead over Hen­der­son un­til the sec­ond set.

The Golden Knights played sloppy in the first set, mis­judg­ing Hen­der­son’s shots by the line and suf­fer­ing from some mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Hen­der­son’s Alli Trench had 16 kills and four digs for her team, while Al­lie DeAbreu helped set up her team­mates with 35 as­sists.

“Give all the credit to Rustin, they are a great vol­ley­ball team,” said Hen­der­son head coach Greta Neff. “They hit the ball hard from all kinds of an­gles. They earned it tonight. I couldn’t be more proud. I don’t think any­one thought we would be in the playoffs at this point, with los­ing the play­ers we did from last year. So, I’m just so proud of the girls for hang­ing in there.”

Rustin will take on No. 4 Down­ing­town West in its next play­off game Thurs­day. West won their last matchup on October 10 in five sets.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

West Ch­ester Rustin’s Kaia Johnson fires a shot past Hen­der­son’s Fiona Pyfer (11) and Gabi Who­riskey (2) as the Golden Knights de­feated the War­riors, 3 games to 1, in the first round of the Dis­trict 1 tour­na­ment Tuesday night.

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