Down two games in the PIAA Class 4A volleyball quarterfinals and on the verge of elimination, Garnet Valley coach Mark Clark told his team to settle down and play one point at a time.
Yes, it’s a cliché, but that simple approach is why the Jaguars are still alive in the tournament.
Garnet Valley rebounded from that two-set deficit for a 3-2 triumph over District 7 runnerup Baldwin Saturday afternoon at Chambersburg High School.
“We were a little nervous and they have a player (Maddi Sgattoni) who is really good,” Clark said. “She’s going to the Naval Academy and I think we were a little intimidated by her. But then we began to play defense and pass the ball better and that allowed us to get back in the game.”
After dropping the first two sets, 25-17 and 25-21, GV roared back to win 25-19, 25-23 and 15-7 to earn the first trip to the semifinals in program history. The Jaguars will take on District 6 champ State College, a 3-1 winner over Seneca Valley, the team that beat Baldwin for the District 7 title.
“There really wasn’t one turning point,” Clark said. “I just think the girls thought, ‘Well, this is it,’ and left everything on the court. We passed better and hit smarter. Once we started to put the ball up in the air that really started to frustrate them.”
Middle hitters Nicole Loan and Julianne Hurley came up huge for the Jaguars. Loan finished with 16 kills and three digs, while Hurley had 14 kills and two blocks.
“Nicole and Julianne were phenomenal,” Clark said. “They made play after play.”
Erin Patterson had a huge day in the attack with 11 kills, but it was on defense where the Jaguars really shined. Lizzie Herestofa and Sydney Portale combined for 49 digs. Herestofa finished with 26 digs to go along with three aces.
Portale’s stat line included 12 digs, six kills and two aces. Davis handed out 49 assists in the five matches and still found time for 11 digs and three aces.
Cassidy Gallagher (seven kills, three digs), Sekai Kaminski (three kills, one dig), Meagan Scott (four digs, one ace) and Amber Goldberg (four digs) also contributed to Garnet Valley’s fourth win in a row, something that did not seem possible when the Jaguars lost to Council Rock North in the District 1 semifinals and had to win twice to make the state tournament as the fifth-place team out of the district.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey,” Clark said. “I truly believe things happen for a reason. Losing to Council Rock was a wakeup call and now they’re doing something very special.”
Elsewhere in Class 4A:
Bishop Shanahan 3, Archbishop Carroll 0 >> The Patriots’ undefeated run came to an end in a 27-25, 25-14, 26-24 loss to the Eagles. No other details were reported. Shanahan faces defending state champ Parkland in the semifinals. Parkland topped Plymouth Whitemarsh, 3-1.