Delone sweeps PV in states

Pan­thers’ best sea­son ends in quar­ters

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - SPORTS - BY CHUCK CUR­LEY STAFF WRITER

SHILLING­TON — The best sea­son in Pan­ther Val­ley girls’ vol­ley­ball his­tory ended with Satur­day’s 25-11, 25-23, 25-17 loss to Delone Catholic in the PIAA Class AA quar­ter­fi­nals at the Gov­er­nor Mif­flin In­ter­me­di­ate School, but the me­mories are sure to last a long time.

“They fought through every­thing. They re­ally didn’t give up. They en­joyed play­ing. Prac­tices were fun. They prac­ticed hard, but it was fun be­ing with them,” Pan­ther Val­ley head coach Nancy Filer said.

De­spite Satur­day’s sweep, the Pan­thers (22-2) left a strong im­pres­sion with Delone Catholic head coach Ja­son Leppo, whose team will face Holy Redeemer in Tues­day’s semi­fi­nals af­ter the Roy­als de­feated New Hope-Sole­bury 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-12, on Satur­day at Quak­er­town.

“Pan­ther Val­ley made a ton of plays de­fen­sively. They re­ally don’t quit on many balls. They scrap a lot of things out. There were a cou­ple of times I thought the ball was go­ing to be down and sud­denly some­one’s fly­ing around, throw­ing an arm up,” he said. “That’s what you ex­pect from a team of their cal­iber and the sea­son they had. They had a heck of a sea­son.”

But Satur­day be­longed to the Dis­trict 3 cham­pion Squirettes (23-3) from McSher­rystown in Adams County. Ju­nior right side hit­ter Mad­die Clabaugh, a left­hander, led the way with 12 kills and four digs. Ju­nior out­side hit­ter Brooke Lawyer added seven kills and se­nior mid­dle hit­ter Emily Miller had six.

“I needed a block in the front (to counter Delone’s hit­ters) and she (sopho­more Natalie White) came through with some hits, too,” Filer said af­ter White re­sponded with three kills. “You’re only

so deep in a school my size. I did try a cou­ple of peo­ple, but it wasn’t our day.”

Delone took ad­van­tage of its ser­vice in the open­ing game. Se­nior Han­nah Wells served 10 straight points, in­clud­ing four aces, as the Squirettes pulled away from a 6-5 lead to a 16-5 bulge en route to the dom­i­nat­ing first­set vic­tory.

Delone then scored the first two points of the sec­ond set, but Pan­ther Val­ley re­sponded be­hind Jenna Du­bosky. The ju­nior served three aces among five straight points, turn­ing a 3-2 deficit into a 7-3 lead.

“That was one of the things com­ing in that we said,” Leppo said. “We want to make sure we’re not try­ing to be too per­fect when she’s serv­ing be­cause it’s such a great serve that we wanted to just get the ball up and not give up any easy points. We gave up easy points there and let them get out to a lead.”

Delone an­swered to cre­ate a tense sec­ond set. The teams tied five times, the last at 22. The Squirettes took the lead on a kill by Clabaugh and set up set point when Du­bosky and set­ter Sarah Zabroski col­lided while at­tempt­ing to set, caus­ing a dou­ble-tap vi­o­la­tion. The Pan­thers’ Rachelle Filer scored one of her three kills in the match to pull her team within 24-23, but an­other dou­ble-tap call on the next point gave Delone the win.

“I thought we were able to find our­selves and set­tle in just in the nick of time, be­cause if it gets to 1-1 and they steal that sec­ond game, you’re look­ing at an en­tirely dif­fer­ent match, a lot of pressure on us. It al­lows them to be more loose,” Leppo said.

Pan­ther Val­ley built an­other 7-3 lead in the third set, thanks to a pair of kills by Erika Du­bosky in a four-point ser­vice run by Rachelle Filer. Erika Du­bosky added three more kills dur­ing the set to fin­ish with 10 kills and five digs.

Again, Delone had an an­swer.

Miller scored three kills in suc­ces­sion dur­ing a ser­vice run by Abby Smith that tied the set 7-7. The teams tied twice more be­fore Delone se­nior set­ter Molly Rav­ille served an ace to give the Squirettes an 11-10 lead. Rav­ille served two more points, in­clud­ing a kill by Wells, to put the Squirettes ahead to stay. Pan­ther Val­ley never trailed by more than four points and trailed 19-17 when Clabaugh’s kill gave Delone the serve.

Leppo in­serted ju­nior Deanna Klunk in Rav­ille’s place to serve and Delone scored four straight points, in­clud­ing two kills by Clabaugh, to close out the match. Klunk served Delone’s ninth ace of the match to end Pan­ther Val­ley’s sea­son, which fea­tured both a Schuykill League cham­pi­onship and the third straight Dis­trict 11 Class AA cham­pi­onship.

Three Pan­ther se­niors played their fi­nal match. Zabroski had 10 as­sists, while Emilee Kwaak had three digs and served two points. Rachelle Filer served four points.

Among the un­der­class­men, Jenna Du­bosky had eight kills, 15 as­sists, three aces and three digs for the Pan­thers. Ju­nior Olivia Dacey added six kills and seven digs.

“There are amaz­ing girls com­ing back,” Nancy Filer said of the Pan­thers. “The nu­cleus is there.”

Those re­turn­ing play­ers will be armed with the goal of im­prov­ing upon the best sea­son in school his­tory.

“Very proud of them,” Nancy Filer said of her team. “This was a hard les­son to­day, a life les­son that, no mat­ter how hard you work, some­times it just doesn’t work out for you. It is what it is.”

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