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Plymouth Whitemarsh advances to District 1-AAAA semis, clinches state berth in wild win over Upper Merion

WHITEMARSH >> Plymouth Whitemarsh defeated Upper Merion in five sets, 24-26, 25-19, 17-25, 25-18, 15-9, Tuesday night in the District 1 Class AAAA quarterfinals in front of a packed gym at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

The No. 2 seed Colonials — who clinched a PIAA Class AAAA state playoff berth with the win — will host No. 6 Council Rock North in the District 1 semifinals Thursday night.

The No. 10 seed Vikings are eliminated from the District 1 playoffs but will enter the playback bracket to try to earn a trip to states. They will play Thursday against a team to be determined.

Plymouth Whitemarsh stayed perfect in large part to seniors Lauren Coscia and Danielle Rippert and sophomore Lily Aquaviva.

Coscia scored two points in the decisive fifth set — one on a block and another on a kill. Rippert tallied two points on kills and another two via aces. Aquaviva scored two points — PW’s 13th and the game-ending 15th.

The Colonials only trailed once in the final set, 3-2. They scored six of the next eight points to lead, 8-4, and their lead never got smaller than two.

With their backs against the wall, the unbeaten Colonials never trailed in the fourth set. They scored three straight after the teams were tied at 13 and maintained at least a two-point lead en route to a 25-18 win to tie the game, 2-2.

Upper Merion — now in the Pioneer Athletic Conference — got out to a fast start against its former Suburban One League rival in the third set, 9-4. PW battled back to tie the game at 11 and again at 13, but the Vikings finished on a 12-4 run to win the set, 25-17, on a Tori Wright kill and take a 2-1 edge.

The Colonials used a 9-1 run in the second set to turn a 12-9 deficit into an 18-13 lead. They carried that momentum through the end of the set and won, 25-19.

The Vikings came out on fire in the first set. They immediately got out to a 13-5 lead to force a PW timeout and the advantage ballooned to 17-8. The Colonials scored 13 of the next 17 to force a tie at 21 and then took their first lead, 24-23. Upper Merion’s Wright then scored three straight points to give the Vikings a 26-24 win and 1-0 lead.

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