YATESVILLE — Strong hitters with an extremely athletic setter. A strong block and pin-point serving accuracy.
Now, add to the fact that Palmyra was a little aggravated after a tough, five-set loss in the District 3 final.
Maggie Black and Melanie Sheaffer combined for 15 kills as Palmyra rolled to a 3-0 victory over Nanticoke in the opening round of the PIAA Class 3A girls’ volleyball tournament Tuesday at Pittston Area.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-13 and 25-15.
“They were a smart team,” Nanticoke head coach Debbie Gavin said. “Their serving was great, and they hit their spots. They knew our girls were nervous, and went right after them. Plus, they hit a quick middle, which really helped them. We were flat today.”
There was no telling how Palmyra would respond after that heart-breaking loss to Berks Catholic in that final; one where the Cougars won the first two sets and had match-point in the third.
“We were hoping to get our swagger back,” Palmyra head coach Clark Sheaffer said. “When we are functioning as a team, we are tough. You saw a little of that tonight. It allowed us to get some players in and get that experience.”
The Trojans couldn’t have asked for a better start, leading 7-5 early.
All of a sudden, the Cougars woke up – and never lost any momentum.
A 12-0 run busted open an 8-8 tie in the first set.
A 16-3 advantage to start the second.
An early, seven-point lead (13-6) and late 10-point edge (21-11) in the third.
“They were nervous, but we won’t use that as an excuse,” Gavin said. “We’ve just been inconsistent throughout the year. And I think tonight was that team that struggles at times. We just had a hard time putting things together.”
Nanticoke, coming off a five-set thriller over Crestwood in the District 2 final, had some brights spots.
Big blocks by Kasey Radginski.
A few timely one-overs by setter Jenna Lipowski.
A 4-0 run on Codi Hornlein to start the third set.
The problem was just staying away from that momentum-changing runs by the Cougars.
“We needed this,” Clark Sheaffer said. “That loss to Berks Catholic was tough. We had a decent practice leading up to this, but we needed a match like this to get restarted. We have to realize that we have an opportunity and a lot of people don’t get this chance. We have to just enjoy the game, and have fun.
Sophomore Alyssa Lewis finished with four kills, while Radginski and Jilann Baron combined for six kills. Lipowski ended with eight assists and two kills.
Palmyra 3, Nanticoke 0
Palmyra `25`25`25 – 3
Nanticoke `11`13`15 – 0
Palmyra: LeeAnn Baker 8 kills; Kirstin West 26 assists, 4 kills, 2 aces; Melanie Sheaffer 9 kills
Nanticoke: Alyssa Lewis 4 kills, 6 digs; Jilann Baron 3 kills, 1 block; Kasey Radginski 3 kills, 3 blocks; Jenna Lipowski 2 kills, 8 assists; 1 block, 1 dig.