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Plmouth Whitemarsh avenges early loss, ties Hatboro-Horsham atop SOL American

Plymouth Whitemarsh's Megan Peuser goes up at a net near Hatboro-Horsham’s Kayla Dougherty and Daniella Spruill during their match on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

WHITEMARSH >> Plymouth Whitemarsh senior Lily Acquaviva didn’t play when the Colonials suffered their only loss of the season last month against Hatboro-Horsham.

She made a big impact in the rematch.

Acquaviva totalled a team-high 14 kills in Plymouth Whitemarsh’s 3-1 Suburban One League American Conference win over Hatboro-Horsham Wednesday night, 25-21, 25-11, 22-25, 25-13, at Colonial Elementary School.

“We’ve been looking forward to this since the moment we lost,” Acquaviva, who missed the earlier meeting with a hyperextended knee, said. “In our mind we were like, ‘Now it’s time to work hard and put everything we’ve got out on the court and win.’”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Lily Acquaviva prepares to spike during the Colonials’ match against Hatboro-Horsham on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

The two teams are now tied atop the SOL American Conference with one loss each with around two weeks left in the regular season.

“This is what we’ve been working for since that first time we saw them at the beginning of September,” PW coach Seely Byler said. “Unfortunately we had an injury, we didn’t play very well and they played super tough back in September. We just came up a little short. Every single practice we’ve been thinking about this next matchup. Between Abington and Hatboro in the same week — which is a really tough week for us — it’s homecoming week, the seniors are really excited. I really wanted this for them and I’m glad they pulled it out.”

“(PW) probably isn’t going to lose a match from here on out would be my guess,” Hatboro coach Jon Young said. “(Winning the league) is going to be tough.”

The Colonials (11-1, 10-1) had to battle back after a slow start in the first set. They rattled off six straight points to take a 14-13 lead halfway through. They held a 22-21 lead before scoring three points — finished off by a Megan Peuser kill — to close out the 25-21 win.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Rickelle Wescott and Kayla Dougherty go for the block against Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Megan Peuser during their match on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“Some things went wrong, but the credit goes to PW,” Young said. “They took care of the ball and then when they had opportunities they swung hard. We definitely didn’t control the ball the way we like to. I don’t think our serving was what it normally is and we broke a little bit in the middle there. We have strong kids and they’ll bounce back. Quite frankly, PW came to play tonight. With the exception of maybe some aces, I think they beat us on pretty much every side of the ball.”

The second set was dominant. PW scored the first four points and Hatboro-Horsham was never able to draw even. After leading 11-9, the Colonials scored 14 of the next 16 points to take the second set, 25-11.

“I think the way that we lined up the middles and we were talking a lot more on serve receive,” Byler said. “We were able to control the serve receive game a little better and we were able to swing really strong out of serve receive. I think that made the difference.”

The Hatters (11-1, 11-1) responded with a win in the third set. The rivals split the first 24 points right down the middle, 12-12. Camilie De Jesus Wild served while Hatboro scored seven straight points to take a 19-12 lead. After splitting the next six points, the Hatters looked set for a win with a 22-15 lead, but PW battled back to make it 24-22. The Hatters closed it out, 25-22, when a PW dig hit the ceiling and the hosts weren’t able to react fast enough to return the ball over the net.

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Aja Smith and Allison Helferty go up to block Hatboro-Horsham’s Camilie De Jesus Wild during their match on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

The fourth set was much like the second. PW scored the first three points and the Hatters never recovered. Acquaviva closed the match with a strong kill to give the Colonials a 25-13 fourth-set win.

“The energy on the court,” Acquaviva credited for the big game two and game four wins. “When we encourage each other and hype everybody up we play better as a team and we just got into some serving runs, like they got in some runs. We bounced back and got back into it and we were able to come out on top.”

Peuser totalled 11 kills for PW. Sydney Melillo led the Colonials with 34 assists and Gillian Conner and Sophia Repholz each had 18 digs.

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