FRANCONIA >> Twice during the regular season, Suburban One League Continental Conference foes Souderton and North Penn faced each other.
In the first match, Souderton came away victorious in a dominating showing and looked like the better team all night. In the second match, it was North Penn that got the upper hand and earned the hard-fought victory.
Tuesday night, as the two teams met in the District 1-AAA playoffs for the third time this season, Souderton came out on top 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-20) and got its revenge in convincing fashion.
“We played well and we were aggressive,” said Souderton captain Mike Pagan. “I wanted revenge. I wanted them to come in here thinking they could win and we’d come out and sweep them and that’s what happened, so I’m happy.”
Early in the first set it looked as though it would be a much closer match than it turned out to be.
North Penn managed to take a 12-11 lead and was forcing the Indians into some uncharacteristic errors on their serves and passes.
Souderton head coach Dave Stastny called a timeout, calmed his team, and reminded them to take it one point at a time.
“At the beginning of the match we were shaky,” said Stastny. “We try to play with passion and I think the effort was there but we were playing a little tentative but once we got a little bit of a sweat and got a rhythm we really clicked.’’
After that timeout, they never looked back.
The Indians went on a 14-6 run to close it out and used dominant net play to do so, never letting the Knights take a set.
A lot of that dominant net play was courtesy of Pagan, who finished with an unbelievable nine blocks in the match and controlled the game from the opening serve. He also added a team-high eight kills to his performance and showed exactly why he wears the “C” for his team.
“Michael Pagan played a phenomenal all-around game,’’ said Sastny. “Tonight was one of his best blocking nights for him and as a team, all-around it was great.’’
For the Knights, it was the same lack of consistency that they had been dealing with all season long that ended up being their downfall.
They would show spurts of great play, but would follow it with mistakes that ended up costing them any shot at making it close.
“When it was there for us it looked great but it wasn’t consistent enough,’’ said North Penn head coach Ryan Genova. ‘‘I’m just glad these seniors were able to qualify for district playoffs and give the younger players a taste of what it’s like. Hopefully now we’ll be back next year.’’