Marathon

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

which helped flip the di­rec­tion of the match.

“It’s a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing in the sense that we’ve been in this sit­u­a­tion up two and hav­ing some bad luck in these five set matches,” Car­di­nals coach Paul Choi said. “We’re young in the sense that we’re in­ex­pe­ri­enced at the var­sity level. We have solid play­ers as a whole, but it’s hard to get every­one on the same page. Plus, in a fifth set, it can be hard to keep your com­po­sure.”

Up­per Dublin led 15-14 in the third set be­fore a kill by Pen­nridge’s Zach Detweiler tied it and set the Rams up for a pow­er­ful fin­ish. With sopho­more Chris McKin­ney tak­ing over be­hind the ser­vice line, Pen­nridge scored four straight and ended the set on an 11-4 run.

With UD’s block con­cen­trated on the edges, Detweiler saw he was get­ting a sin­gle block al­most ev­ery time and let set­ter Corey Quaste know. Quaste found Detweiler, who had five kills in the third set which led to things open­ing up for Edwards and Kevin Jones.

“We need more en­ergy on the court, to me that’s all it is,” Detweiler said. “We’re such a tal­ented group, it’s a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and en­ergy that sets us back. It al­most seems like we’re a deer in the head­lights, we for­get what we’re do­ing and we don’t swing back like we need to.”

The Rams are also still get­ting used to life with­out Ben Chin­nici, the four year all-state stand­out now play­ing a key role as a fresh­man at Ball State. Pen­nridge got a taste of that last year when Chin­nici missed some of the sea­son with an in­jury, but he came back for the post­sea­son and re­sumed his usual work­load.

Now, it’s more of an ev­ery man up ap­proach for Pen­nridge. Edwards, who has com­mit­ted to St. Fran­cis (Pa.), said hav­ing a sum­mer and off­sea­son of workouts with­out Chin­nici was huge for the guys com­ing back, es­pe­cially play­ers who were tak­ing on larger roles.

On Mon­day, Edwards made the point that Up­per Dublin’s block had him out of sorts and he turned to his team­mates to pick him up, which they did in that third set.

“Some­times we get up­set with each other on the court in­stead of fo­cus­ing on our game,” Edwards said. “To­day was one of those days, the first two sets we played hor­ri­ble and were blam­ing each other for things. In the third set, we de­cided we were go­ing to rally and ac­tu­ally work to­gether as a team. The stat sheet was re­ally spread out.”

“We just need to keep get­ting our stuff right,” Detweiler said. “We’re pick­ing up on our hit­ting and that’s come with our pass­ing. Pen­nridge’s Ethan Lionetti spikes near Up­per Dublin’s Alex Mad­den Mon­day night. Once we get into it, we’ll get it rolling.”

As much as the Rams needed a match where they had to fight their way out of some tough spots, it won’t count for much if they don’t im­prove on it. Pen­nridge coach Dave Childs looked at the pos­i­tives his team showed Mon­day, in­clud­ing Detweiler’s play, the strong fin­ish and the abil­ity to clean up ar­eas of mis­takes.

“We need to grow from this,” Childs said. “I saw some guys come up in tight spots and come up clutch. I thought some of the young play­ers step­ping up and pres­sure sit­u­a­tions and com­ing up big was huge. They’ve seen enough that it’s about time for us to start click­ing.”

Pen­nridge closed the fourth set strong as well, us­ing a 5-0 spree to go up 20-14, then used a 22-15 edge to trade points un­til the clincher. In the fi­nal frame, Up­per Dublin ral­lied to tie the set 12-12 be­fore Edwards slammed down a pair of kills and the Rams were able to add the 15th and match-win­ning point.

“It’s some­thing we’re still work­ing on, with the lim­ited prac­tices we have, we try to be as pro­duc­tive as we can be­cause we have some things we’re try­ing to fig­ure out,” Choi said. “A lot of that comes with hav­ing ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing vol­ley­ball and be­ing ex­posed to a lot of sce­nar­ios we haven’t been yet, so we’re learn­ing as we’re go­ing.”

It was one match, but the Rams hope it could be the one that helps them put those last few pieces in place and start play­ing the way they feel they’re ca­pa­ble of.

“For our team, there’s no one guy that’s go­ing to take the ball and con­trol the game,” Edwards said. “It’s go­ing to be all of us. We’re still try­ing to fig­ure it out but that was a good game for us to learn what we have to do as a team and get bet­ter from it.”

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Up­per Dublin’s Mario Pe­tushi spikes past Pen­nridge’s Zach Detweiler and Corey Quaste Mon­day night.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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