LOWER MERION >> Coming off an emotional win over Sacred Heart, Dock Mennonite Academy was fast, efficient and a 3-0 winner over Parkway West in the District 1-12 Class A Regional Final at Harriton High School Thursday night.
The Pioneers racked up 32 aces and won 25-6, 25-4, 25-11 to earn their first state tournament appearance since 2013.
“It’s pretty awesome because in 2013 I was just a freshman so I didn’t get to play as much, but I got to see what it was like and I’ve been dreaming to get back,” senior outside hitter Daphne Hunsinger said.
Hunsinger had seven aces and three kills for Dock, which followed up its district championship victory over Sacred Heart in commanding fashion.
“I do like the way they’re playing,” coach Trish Hoover said of her squad, which hasn’t dropped a set in postseason play. “I lost five seniors from last year and really thought this was going to be a rebuild year for us.
“The thing that this team has that last year’s didn’t is mental toughness. Even when we play teams and get down, this team has a fight in them — they really battle. They fight for every point.”
Dock overwhelmed the Hoyas with strong serving, with Hannah Swartley leading the Pioneers with a team-high nine aces.
“Serving definitely is one of our strong points,” Hoover said. “We always try to serve a team out of its offense.”
Parkway West, in its deepest trip into the postseason, went against a seasoned opponent in the Pioneers.
“We’ve gotten to the District 12 Championship a couple times before and just hadn’t been able to turn the corner,” Hoyas coach Brian Beaton said. “This is the first time we’ve gotten to play outside the district and see a real qualifier — this is a real top team here.
“Off the line, (Dock) was just on fire today. No high balls, everything is controlled. Everything is deadly.”
Maura Shisler’s three aces in the third game helped close things outs for the Pioneers, who will get the District 3 winner in the first round of states next week.
“We had a strong practice (Wednesday) and just came in today staying positive,” the senior said.
This group of seniors has come along.
“I love being a team leader out there, pumping everybody up,” Hunsinger said, “and killing the balls.”