North Penn spik­ers put Chel­tenham away

North Penn Life - - SPORT - By An­drew Mar­cus amar­cus@jour­nal­reg­is­ter. com

When there is a Wil­lits there is a way. Or at least a put-away. North Penn se­nior Andy Wil­lits wants noth­ing more than to take his vol­ley­ball team to higher heights in this year’s post­sea­son. On Tues­day he was not go­ing to let a slow start in­ter­fere with his as­pi­ra­tions. The 12th-seed from Chel­tenham clawed and was com­pet­i­tive early, but even­tu­ally Wil­lits DnG WKH fiIWK-sHHGHG .nLJKWs wDONHG DwDy wLWK D 3-1 (2523, 24-26, 25-14, 25-14) win.

“WH GHfinLWHOy FDPH Ln pretty re­laxed,” Wil­lits said. “We should come into the play­offs play­ing as hard as we can and leave ev­ery­thing on the court. We stepped it up at the end of the game.”

Wil­lits and the Knights were tired of the nail-bit­ing finLsKHs sHHn Ln WKH fiUsW WwR games, one which went their way and one that slipped DwDy. ,n WKH finDO WwR JDPHs he was call­ing for sophoPRUH sHWWHU 0DUN EOLDs (22 DssLsWs) WR SDss KLs wDy. WLOOLWs finLsKHG wLWK 21 NLOOs DnG four aces. The Knights’ other out­side hit­ter Kyle Su­cro con­trib­uted with 16 kills and 13 GLJs.

“Andy and Kyle both are both con­sis­tent guys,” Knights coach Tim Moyer said. “Mark looks to them when they get in trou­ble. Andy is a se­nior, he has been here a long time, and has earned the re­spect of his team­mates.”

It was any­thing but a breeze to the sec­ond round of the Dis­trict One Class AAA play­offs as the PanWKHUs (10-13 RYHUDOO) sKRwHG much im­prove­ment from their reg­u­lar sea­son matchuS, D 25-21, 25-23, 25-15 sweep by the Knights. The Pan­thers, be­hind the strong set­ting of Mike Lee and ath­letic swings by mid­dle hit­ter Bran­don Smith and sev­eral out­side hit­ters helped the Pan­thers hold late leads in the open­ing two games.

“We have been start­ing slow all sea­son,” Moyer said. “But we can­not af­ford to do that. Chel­tenham is an ath­letic squad and they are

im­prov­ing. If we left them in the match they be­lieved they can win.”

In Game One the Pan­thers led O1-O0 be­fore the Knights’ ral­lied to close on a 5-O run. In Game Two the young group of Pan­thers strug­gled to seal the game lead­ing O4O1, but so im­prove­ment by stay­ing fo­cused and even­tu­ally hold­ing on for the win O6-O4 win. The Knights (15-3 over­all) re­al­ized af­ter Game Two they needed to turn it on quickly if they wanted to avoid the early HxiW on WKHir KoPH floor.

“Ev­ery time they got a lead, they gave up points be­cause they are an in­expe- ri­enced team,” Moyer said. “We left them in the game too long in Game Two. But we are vet­eran team and we fought the whole way and played well in the end.”

Wil­lits would love a dis­trict ti­tle or a spot in the PIAA play­offs and knows from his past ex­pe­ri­ences in dis­tricts that they will need to bet­ter against fourth seeded Ne­shaminy. It will be a tough game, but with the hard swing­ing out­side hit­ter in the fold, there is a way.

“There is some ur­gency,” Wil­lits said. “I want to go fur­ther than the North Penn teams of the past could go. I re­ally want to work as hard as I can or play as hard as I can.”

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