Boy­er­town’s run ends against Penns­bury

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Jeff Stover js­tover@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mer­curyXS­tover on Twit­ter

BOY­ER­TOWN >> It cer­tainly over­achieved in its sec­ond year of var­sity-level play.

The achieve­ment fell short of an ex­tended run through the Dis­trict 1 play­offs, ended Thurs­day in a 3-0 loss to Penns­bury. But that doesn’t di­min­ish Boy­er­town’s ef­fort or ac­com­plish­ments this fall.

“It was a great sea­son,” head coach Mike Lud­wig said af­ter his girls closed out their 18-5 cam­paign with the loss in the sec­ond round of the 1-4A play­offs. “Our first di­vi­sion ti­tle, our first trip to dis­tricts ... I couldn’t be more proud. We grew as a team and as in­di­vid­u­als.”

To its credit, Boy­er­town played the 10th-seeded Fal­cons tight in the first two sets. The sev­enth-seeded Bears ex­tended their guests to 27-25 and 28-26 ver­dicts be­fore Penns­bury took the third set, 25-17.

“In the quar­ter­fi­nal round of dis­tricts, you’re talk­ing about good teams,” Lud­wig said. “Tonight, it came down to the first two sets we bat­tled, but we couldn’t make the fi­nal play. In the third, we came back, but not enough.”

The open­ing set saw Boy­er­town come back from deficits of three and four points to grab a 23-21 lead. But Penns­bury (17-4) won five of the last eight points to take charge of the match.

In the sec­ond set, the Bears started out win­ning the first three points be­fore the Fal­cons went on a six-point run to take a 13-7 lead. They fin­ished up with a 4-1 run to go up 2-0.

The third set was marked by Penns­bury open­ing a 6-2 lead, then go­ing on a 5-1 surge at the end. It now looks at be­com­ing one of five Dis­trict 1 teams qual­i­fy­ing for state-level play ... no small feat, given the Fal­cons’ youth­ful stature.

“We have only two re­turn­ing starters,” head coach Michael Fal­ter noted, “and they’re both sopho­mores. The only dis­trict ex­pe­ri­ence we have is Tues­day (3-0 win over North Penn). So we’re fairly green.”

Boy­er­town, with se­niors Leah Black, Tay­lor Jones and Olivia Hur­ley in the main mix, meshed with un­der­class­men like Emily Wolfe, Sa­van­nah Der­s­tine, Ju­lia Smith, Emma Lud­wig and Adri­anna Der­s­tine to go 11-2 and fin­ish first in the Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s Lib­erty Di­vi­sion this fall. The Bears were swept by Pope John Paul II in the first round of the PAC Fi­nal Four play­offs, but their high dis­trict seed earned them a first-round bye.

Against Penns­bury, Jones had a solid sta­tis­ti­cal game with 11 kills, 10 digs and nine as­sists. Lud­wig chipped in with 17 as­sists, seven kills and eight digs, Smith added 18 digs, Wolfe had eight kills and Sa­van­nah Der­s­tine came up with seven digs.

“We had tough matches all year,” Lud­wig re­called. “In most of the matches, we were able to make fi­nal plays. But tonight, we couldn’t get over the hump.

“They set a stan­dard of ex­cel­lence. I told the girls they could have won five more matches, and I wouldn’t have been any more prouder of them than I am now. I’m proud of the group and what it ac­com­plished.”

NOTES >> Fal­ter on a key to Penns­bury’s suc­cess: “The girls fol­lowed the game plan well. We have six girls who work hard.”

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