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North Penn beats Lansdale Catholic in four-set thriller

TOWAMENCIN >> It’s sometimes unfortunate when a great game gets boiled down to a play or two but that was the nature of Monday’s non-league girls volleyball match between North Penn and visiting Lansdale Catholic.

North Penn battled to 3-1 win (25-20,22-25,29-27,25-22) and it was late in the third set where the Knights took control of the match and ultimately used the momentum to close out the Crusaders.

“That’s totally true especially when you get into extra points and you have to win by two, that definitely sets a momentum changer going into the fourth” LC coach Katrina Pisch-Koffel said.

For both teams, the game came down to serve and serve receive. Serve receive is an aspect that has hurt North Penn at times this season and examples of that showed especially in the second game where the Knights failed to dig out of an early 7-1 hole.

“We missed a lot of serves today and that’s going to be our downfall,” Pisch-Koffel said. “If we miss that many serves we’re not going to be successful.”

Offensively for the Knights the setting and serving of Alycia Powers were the most influential factor for them from an offensive standpoint. Powers had a key service run in the first game where her five aces and two assists in the run helped flip an 11-8 deficit into a 17-11 advantage.

“Alycia (Powers) got us out of system in so many rotations and she got on a lot of runs that we just couldn’t comeback from,” Pisch-Koffel said. “Every time she went back to serve we knew we had to get it done right away or it was going to be a long couple of serves.”

Outside hitter Allison Elechko was the main beneficiary of the Powers’ setting as she finished the day with 13 kills.

It was clear that the Knights wanted to do their best to keep the ball away from LC’s power hitter Ego Onu. While Onu got her points and made her plays North Penn executed its game plan well on minimizing her impact on the game.

“That team had a dominant middle,” said North Penn coach Brian Harvey of Onu. “(She) may be the best middle in the entire district. We served around her kept it deep, kept them out of system and they couldn’t return and they sure as heck couldn’t get the ball to her.”

As the season starts to get closer to crunch time, both teams have their eyes set on a postseason berth. For LC it will look to improve on Philadelphia Catholic League semifinal appearance from a year ago and for the Knights, they are probably on the outside looking in for District 1 playoff appearance but playing good ball down the stretch will help their case.

“This team is growing to a point where I hope it never stops,” Harvey said. “We’re right there. If we can change some little things (we can play with any team).”

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