ABINGTON >> Monday’s Suburban One League Continental Conference matchup between Abington and North Penn showed two teams trending in the right direction in the conference.
North Penn is experiencing a rebuild from a team that won only three matches a year ago. Abington, on the other hand, is starting to figure out how to replace some key pieces from a playoff team last season.
Abington was looking to avenge a 3-2 loss early in the season back on Sept. 2 and it did just that with a 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-13) victory.
“What was the difference? The first time around we had 17 missed serves against them,” Abington coach Jae Lee said. “How are you going to beat a team with 17 missed serves? Today we had six. We cut it down by 60 percent.”
On paper, it looked like North Penn would struggle with the large hitters that Abington boasts. The Knights were able to keep them at bay through the first two-plus games but the big hitter namely Grace Whitney came through for the Ghosts as they gutted out the win in the latter stages.
“We called them out,” Lee said of his hitters. “We asked who are our alpha dogs? Who is going to be the player to get us that point? Who is going to be the player that everyone is going to be looking up to? It’s our huge hitters.”
Both teams had patches of spotty defense throughout the game, however Abington was able to put together scoring runs a bit more consistently which came in handy late in games.
“There are no excuses, our passes weren’t as crisp or clean as they needed to be,” Lee said.
The lack of being able to get on a scoring run was unfortunate for North Penn because all it would have taken was just a couple of timely strikes with the Abington defense reeling and it could have changed the momentum if not the outcome of a game or two.
“What we did stronger than before that we haven’t done all season was picking that ball and not letting it touch the ground,” North Penn coach Brian Harvey said. “I think we played fine. We just got stuck in serve receive. Take those five to seven-point runs out we’re either winning the game or we’re right back in it.”
The highlight of the afternoon for North Penn came in the second game. The Knights trailed 20-17 but a 5-0 run turned the game in its favor. The Ghosts fought back to take a 23-22 lead but North Penn closed out and won the game 25-23.
“I don’t think it was that bad of a game,” Harvey said. “Maybe they were a little bit better of a serving team but we made them fall apart in so many ways. The way we were hitting the back six corner. Tips over the block, separating the offense (were positives).”
Both the Knights and Ghosts are right around the .500 mark as both teams get set to start the second round of conference games. Both teams figure to be a tougher matchup for the SOL Continental the second time around as both teams grow into form.