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Red-hot Downingtown East keeps sweep streak going

Uwchlan >> The Downingtown East girls’ volleyball squad, off to a 4-0 start after its 25-16, 25-13, 25-12 win against Great Valley Tuesday afternoon, has defeated all of its opponents by a 3-0 score.
At the middle of it all was senior setter and co-captain Jess Angeline, an all-state selection last fall (Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, Class 4A) as well as first team all-District 1. She entered this season second on the all-time Downingtown East list for career assists (1,192) and she dished out 26 assists Tuesday, along with delivering six kills and making four digs.
“We were passing pretty well today, and got nearly all of our serves in,” said Angeline. “We communicated really well together, we meshed really well today, and I hope we can keep that going.”
Five of the Cougar seniors have played together for St. Elizabeth CYO volleyball for a number of years – Angeline, senior outside hitter and co-captain Jill Curran, senior libero Jordan Musantry, senior outside hitter and co-captain Brooke Lauletta and senior middle blocker Julia Michinok. All five contributed greatly to Downingtown East’s win Tuesday.
“We’ve gotten great leadership from our six seniors [Angeline, Curran, Musantry, Lauletta, Michinok and Mackenzie Kelly] – they’re great players and great people, and they have a year of [added] experience under their belt,” said Downingtown East head coach Peggy Hopton.
Last year, Downingtown East finished second in the Ches-Mont League with an 11-1 record, one game short of PIAA 4A state finalist and District 1 4A champion Bishop Shanahan (12-0 in Ches-Mont). The Cougars then entered the PIAA District 1 4A tournament as the fourth seed, but lost to 12th seed Downingtown West in the district quarterfinals, then fell to eighth seed West Chester Rustin in the District 1 4A playback bracket, coming up short of qualifying for States.
“Hopefully this year we can make it to States,” said Angeline. “We had the chances for it last year, we just couldn’t pull it all together.”
Tuesday against Great Valley, host Downingtown East jumped out to a 5-1 lead, then eventually built it into an 18-8 margin with a well-rounded attack that included Curran (who had 15 kills Tuesday), Michinok (eight kills) and Lauletta (seven kills). Eventually, the Cougars prevailed in Game 1 by a 25-16 score.
In Game 2, Downingtown East turned a slender 11-8 lead into a 17-9 advantage, winning some long volleys with key defensive plays.
Musantry led the way defensively Tuesday with 14 digs, along with Lauletta (10 digs), Curran (six), Michinok (five) and Angeline (four).
The Cougars ran off the last four points of Game 2, including an ace, winning 25-13.
“I thought we served well and passed well today, and played good defense,” said Hopton.

Great Valley, which came into Tuesday’s contest with a 3-1 record, hung tough, trailing Downingtown East by only four points (12-8) midway through Game 3, but a subsequent 12-2 run by the Cougars put the game away.
Patriot head coach Katie Rickabaugh said, “Today was not our best performance. There were small spurts throughout the games where I thought we could compete [strongly]; however, Downingtown East’s quick offense and strong serving made it difficult to play in system volleyball. Ultimately, my team was not able to find a rhythm, and the score from today’s match shows that.”
For Great Valley, freshman Solenne Johnson recorded eight kills and three blocks.
Throughout the three-game set, Downingtown East relied on its balanced attack, as well as a strong defense.
“We can attack from every position,” said Hopton. “And our setter [Jess Angeline] does a great job delivering the ball.
“I just hope our players know how good they are when they play. Every team is going to be tougher [going forward] and we’re going to need to play tough under pressure.”

 

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