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Garnet Valley finds a rallying point in sweep

CONCORD >> After winning its third Central League title in five years, Garnet Valley had to immediately refocus and prepare for, as head coach Mark Clark describes it, “part three of the season.”

Clark was referring to the District 1 playoffs, and the Jaguars were ready to continue their postseason momentum.

Garnet Valley rode another impressive outing from its senior core as they defeated Perkiomen Valley, 3-0, in the second round of the PIAA District 1 Class 4A playoffs. The Jaguars pulled out three tough set victories over the Vikings by scores of 25-19, 25-22, 25-23.

After winning the first set, which they led by as many as eight, the Jaguars trailed twice in the second set. Garnet Valley rebounded from 10-3 and 17-12 deficits before finally grabbing the lead for good at 20-19. Senior Sydney Portale, who had five kills, said she was proud of her team’s ability to rally.

“In the second set, we dropped a little bit and that’s what put us in those two big ruts, but keeping our energy high and playing the way we know how can keep us in it every game,” Portale said.

While the second set was defined by the Jaguars resilience, the third set centered on their ability to finish against Perkiomen Valley (11-8). Sekai Kaminski finished the game with 11 kills, including five in the final set as Garnet Valley (18-2) had a 22-18 lead but had to fight to claim the two-point set victory. Kaminski believes it was a defining win.

“It proves to us that we can play with bigger teams and at this stage we can compete and rebound from losses,” Kaminski said.

Setter Gabby Davis had 35 assists, Lizzie Herestofa had a dozen digs and Erin Patterson added nine kills. Perkiomen Valley was led by Helena Clauhs with eight kills and 10 digs, and Adrianna Lattanzi with 11 digs. Head coach Drew Sheeler was proud of his team’s effort from start to finish.

“Every game they worked hard and every match they gave it their all. We lost in three but every set we had our chances to win,” Sheeler said.

Garnet Valley advances to play Council Rock North in the quarterfinals, and Clark said the second set win was definitely something to build on going forward.

“We came back from two big holes. It shows our team’s character that we can come back in different situations,” Clark said.

In other District 1 action:

Second-seeded Plymouth Whitemarsh ousted Strath Haven, 3-0, in Class 4A. In the Class 2A quarterfinals, Pope John Paul II defeated Radnor, 3-0. Merion Mercy knocked off Radnor, 3-0, and Sun Valley fell to Mount St. Joseph. No score was available for the Sun Valley match. In Class 1A, Christopher Dock defeated Sacre Heart, 3-0.

Catholic League

Archbishop Carroll and Cardinal O’Hara will square off again, this time for the Catholic League title.

The top-seeded Patriots remained undefeated with a 3-0 triumph over Lansdale Catholic in the first game of a semifinal doubleheader at Neumann’s Mirenda Center. In the second game, O’Hara extended its winning streak to 16 with a 3-0 triumph over Archbishop Wood.

The teams play Sunday at Neumann for the league championship. The match starts at 4 p.m.

All-Delco Hannah Wright pounded 21 kills as the Patriots (20-0) downed the Crusaders, 25-15, 25-14, 25-19. Paige Monastero also was strong in the attack with 13 kills. Mary Kate Painter had 17 digs to pace the offense, while setter Morgan Silk handed out 33 assists.

In the nightcap, setter Meghan MacWilliams had 35 assists and nine digs to lift the Lions (20-2) over the Vikings, 25-11, 25-22, 25-17. Kiki Daly registered 11 kills and 11 digs, while Charlee Borcky had nine kills and seven digs.

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