Connect with us

The Reporter

Pennridge claims 3rd straight District 1-AAA title, tops Pennsbury in 5

WARMINSTER >> Dave Childs knew the moment when it all came together for the Pennridge boys volleyball team Thursday night.

“Game Four was key, the 20-20 mark, we earned a couple tough points there to take a lead and I saw something different from the group there after that. Something I’d been waiting all season to see,” the Rams coach said. “I was really happy to see that, I didn’t even come over to the huddle, they broke it down. They knew what they were doing.”

Trailing top-seeded Pennridge two sets to one and level with the Falcons 20-20 in the fourth, Pennridge ran off four straight points in forcing a fifth set in the District 1-AAA championship match.

“We really just reset everything. We just forgot about the past three games cause they weren’t great honestly,” Rams senior Ben Chinnici said. “We really forgot about everything. We reset, we refocused on our side of the court, came out with intensity and focused to come out with that win.”

No. 6 Pennridge blitzed the Falcons in the deciding game, jumping out to a 9-2 advantage and claimed their third consecutive district title with a 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 19-25, 25-21 15-7) victory at William Tennent.

“For us, this is huge. Especially being a senior, Jo (Friesen) and I came into this year as seniors wanting to finish on the strongest note possible. And right now, we’re doing that,” Chinnici said. “We’re doing exactly what we need to do. So it’s huge coming out with a district title for the three years in a row.”

Chinnici collected 30 kills and 17 digs, Josiah Friesen had 10 kills, eight digs and six blocks while Cross Edwards finished with 12 kills, 16 digs and a pair of aces for the Rams, who never trailed and were level with the Falcons just one  — at 1-1 — in the fifth set.

Pennridge posted four straight for a 6-2 edge and after the Falcons stopped the run, the Rams answered with a three-point burst to hold a 9-2 lead.

“There was a couple times where we’re just a few points away, I was like their also a few points away from where we are. We don’t have this yet, we got to keep fighting,” Friesen said. “Cause Pennsbury’s a very good team. They played very well and knew if we let up just a little bit they could come back.”

Pennridge senior Ben Chinnici, left, gets set for the kill for the Rams during the District 1-AAA final against Pennsbury on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Steve Sherman/Digital First Media)

Pennsbury cut it 9-4, but that was as close as the Falcons could get. The Rams pushed the margin to 14-5 and after Pennsbury staved off two match points Friesen unleashed a hit the Falcons could not dig to seal the three-peat.

“It just felt awesome. To be able to get the final set and be able to put it away is just awesome,” Friesen said.

Corey Quaste handed out 56 assists to go with his six digs and three blocks while Danny Rutter made 22 digs for Pennridge.

“When either team was in system, they dominated,” Childs said. “Whichever team was in system and we stayed in system I think and that allowed us to open up our offense. Corey again did a great job reeling it back in in games four and five and making good decisions.”

Pennsbury was looking to claim its first District 1-AAA championship since 2013. Both teams qualified for the PIAA tournament with their semifinals victories.

Pennridge opens states, which begin Tuesday, against District 3’s fourth-place finisher – either Penn Manor or Dallastown. Pennsbury faces District 12 champ George Washington.

The Rams, which are making their ninth straight PIAA appearance, lost in five to eventual champ Hempfield in last year’s 3A state semis.

“We have to stay focused. I think we have to stay focused and be who we are,” Childs said. “And I think we got back to that a little bit tonight which was really important for us.”

Pennridge began the season 3-4 with Chinnici – a first-team all-state outside hitter committed to Ball State – out due to a broken hand, but since his return the Rams have won 14 of 15, the lone loss coming April 25 to Parkland.

“I think there always was that mentally that even though we had a rough start to the season with a bunch of people out and hurt and sick and so on, we still had the capability of when everyone’s back together and practicing and playing together we can take that district title,” Chinnici said. “And we earned it.”

In the third set, Pennsbury used a 5-0 run for an 8-3 lead but Pennridge answered with five straight to knot the set at 8-8. The Falcons, however, put together another 5-0 spurt to go ahead 13-8.

Pennridge senior Josiah Friesen goes up for the kill for the Rams during the District 1-AAA final against Pennsbury on Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Steve Sherman/Digital First Media)

The Rams could only cut the deficit down to three from there, the last time at 15-12 before Pennsbury won seven of the next 10 to lead 22-15 as it went on to take a 2-1 match lead with a 25-19 victory.

Down 15-12 in the fourth set, Pennridge ripped off five straight points to take a 17-15 lead. The Falcons regain the advantage 18-17 but the Rams claimed the next two points to go up 19-18.

“We played really good defense tonight. I think absolutely fantastic defense,” Chinnici said. “We made a lot of digs which made their hitters think a lot and try and hit shots. And we served well. We put them out of system throughout the whole time and that gave us easy balls back to put away.”

Pennsbury tied Pennridge twice at 19 and 20 but consecutive points had the Rams up 22-20. Pennridge collected two more after a Falcons timeout and went on to force a fifth set with their 25-21 win.

“That was a big moment for us, not just in how we played but a huge momentum swing,” Friesen said. “Cause we went into the fifth game coming off winning that fourth game and during that game I knew fight through that fourth game and win it, we’d had that fifth game.”

Pennridge never trailed in the opening set after going out to a 4-0 lead. Pennsbury made a late charge, pulling within 21-20 before the Rams took four of the next five.

The Falcons even the match in the second set – claiming a 22-18 lead then only letting Pennridge get as close as three from there in winning 25-21.

Top Photo: Pennridge senior Ben Chinnici, left, and classmate Josiah Friesen accept the District 1-AAA trophy from District 1 boys volleyball chairman Gary Kochersperger after the Rams 3-2 win over Pennsbury in the district final on Thursday, May 25, 207. (Steve Sherman/Digital First Media)



Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × 1 =

Recent News

More in The Reporter