North Penn top­ples Chel­tenham

The Globe - - OPINION - By An­drew Mar­cus

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 walked away with a 3-1 (2523, 24-26, 25-14, 25-14) win.

“WH GHfinLWHOy cDPH 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 sopho­more set­ter Mark Elias (22 as­sists) to pass his way. WilOLWs finLsKHG wLWK 21 NLOOs DnG four aces. The Knights’ other out­side hit­ter Kyle Su­cro con­trib­uted with 16 kills and 13 digs.

“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 Pan­thers (10-13 over­all) showed much im­prove­ment from their reg­u­lar sea­son matchup, a 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 21-20 be­fore the Knights’ ral­lied to close on a 5-2 run. In Game Two the young group of Pan­thers strug­gled to seal the game lead­ing 2421, but so im­prove­ment by stay­ing fo­cused and even­tu­ally hold­ing on for the win 26-24 win. The Knights (15-3 over­all) re­al­ized af­ter Game Two they needed to turn it on quickly if they

wanted to avoid the early HxLW Rn WhHLr hRPH flRRr.

“Ev­ery time they got a lead, they gave up points EHFDuVH WhHy DrH Dn LnHxSHri­enced 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 IrRP hLV SDVW HxSHrLHnFHV 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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