NEWTOWN – The first time the sides squared off in September on the Golden Hawks’ home court, Council Rock South defeated CR North in girls volleyball for the first time in over a decade.
The Lady Indians were not going to let that happen again Wednesday night (Oct. 11) at North. While South won the first game, 29-27, the Indians claimed the next three to stay tied for second place with CB West in the Suburban One National League (SONL) standings.
All but game two – won 25-16 by North – went to extra points. The Indians claimed wins of 28-26 and 26-24 to close out a 3-1 triumph.
“They’re a very well coached team, they play great defense and they kept us off-balance,” stated CR South head coach John Wright. “They couldn’t hit through our blocks but they went around us and they made us play the ball.
“We just couldn’t cover.”
“We were really disappointed after the first time we played them,” added CR North senior Maddy Moore. “That was the seveth time we played them since I’ve been here and it was the first time we ever lost to them.
“We were not taking a loss tonight. It didn’t matter how we were going to get there; we were not losing.”
Moore led the Lady Indians (14-4, 12-3: SONL) with 29 digs and 20 kills and she had plenty of help from classmate Mackenzie Tinner, who chipped in with two digs, 11 kills and three blocks.
CR North setter Sarah Caola also had a good night, recording 17 digs, 25 assists, a pair of kills and three blocks. Classmate Grace Schweizer contributed with 23 digs. Senior Kaelin Mealey came in late and added seven digs and four kills and classmate Alyssa Coates chipped in with four digs and four kills.
Junior Ashley Kelly added 18 digs and classmate Jenna Hron came through with three kills and four blocks.
“All of their players do a really nice job but Maddy Moore is just outstanding,” said Wright. “And their setter, I can’t say enough about Sarah (Caola); she did a really nice job over there.”
A team without a lot of height – Tinner is the only player over 6-feet tall – the Indians rely on their defense to extend volleys and score points.
“We’ve just been working and working on hitting spots, hitting their outside hand, doing whatever we can to use our strength, and not necessarily our height to get kills.
“The first time we played them, we had just started working on it.
“We’ve been working our butts off in practice and getting into a rhythm of getting points even when we don’t have the height.”
In game one, South (12-5, 10-4: SONL) took and early 10-6 lead only to see North tie the score at 11-all on three straight kills.
While the Indians took a 20-18 lead on a kill by Hron, the Hawks tied it at 21-all on a kill by South senior Hannah Devlin then took the lead on a block by classmate Makayla Kelly.
The Hawks took a 25-24 lead on a block by senior Hannah Sullivan and thought they had the winning point on a kill by sophomore Ariana Ranieri. South was called for a net violation, however, so play continued.
While North took a 26-25 lead on a hitting error by the Hawks, South finally closed out a 29-27 victory in game one on a kill by junior Celina Varian and a hitting error by the Indians.
Except for game two where North went ahead 14-7 at the halfway point and claimed a 25-16 win on a kill by Tinner and a Hawks’ hitting error, the rest of the match followed that back-and-forth theme.
Taking a 22- 18 lead on a kill by Raneiri late in game three, South had a chance to answer back. The Indians tied the score at 22-all, however, on a kill by Tinner and a Hawks’ hitting error.
Tinner snuck one in before the back line for a 23-22 North lead and her block tied the score at 25-all. While Sullivan forced a hitting error by the home team, giving South a slight edge, the Indians closed out another close win – this one by a 28-26 score – on a kill by Hron and a Hawks’ hitting error.
In game four, North took a 13-10 lead at the halfway point, though South battled back to take a slight edge with help from Sullivan, who forced an Indians’ hitting error and added a kill.
The match went back and forth until the end when Mealey tipped a ball over the net for a North kill and the Hawks committed a game-ending hitting error, handing the Indians a 26-24 victory and hard-earned 3-1 triumph.
Sullivan led the Hawks’ cause with 12 kills and three blocks. Varian (six kills, 53 digs) and Ranieri (five kills, 49 digs) anchored the South defense and setter Hannah Devlin added 16 assists.
In a mid-September pairing between North and South, the Hawks emerged with a rare victory over the Indians, taking that match, 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18).
“In 15 years, (Council Rock) South has won only three matches so they dominate us,” admitted Wright. “Winning earlier this year was a huge feather in our cap.”
When the season started, the Hawks set two goals – beat North and make it to districts. South started the week ranked 17th in the 24-team field but has suffered losses to Pennsbury, New Hope-Solebury and now, North.
Still, Wright thinks his team is capable of making some noise in districts.
“I think we’ll have some opportunities there because we put up a very strong front with our blocks,” the coach said. “These guys know us pretty well so they knew how to beat us. Hopefully, other people won’t know that.”
The Indians are coming off a state-qualifying season, a campaign in which they finished third in the District 1-AAAA tournament with wins over Upper Dublin, Garnet Valley and Downingtown West.
South has four matches remaining – one each against the Central Bucks schools and Villa Jo Marie. North also has four left against Neshaminy, Penncrest, Pennsbury and Bensalem.
NOTES: As of Oct. 8, CR North was ranked ninth in the D-1 4A Power Rankings and Pennsbury is listed fourth.
Council Rock North 3, CR South 1
(Oct. 11 at CR North)
CR NORTH (14-4, 12-3: SONL) 27 25 28 26
CR SOUTH (12-5, 10-4: SONL) 29 16 26 24