FALLS TWP. — Pennsbury cruised to an easy win in game one of their Suburban One League (SOL) opening match with Council Rock North.
After a 25-13 triumph in game one, the Lady Falcons’ 3-2 win over the Indians Wednesday night (Sept. 10) on their home court was anything but easy, however. What looked like it might be an easy night for Pennsbury turned into a barnburner.
“North just came back really, really strong and they were doing really well in the third and fourth games,’ said Falcons outside hitter Brandi Steiner. “But we practice really hard all during the preseason for matches like this and I’m really proud that we were able to come out ahead in the fifth set.’
After Pennsbury took the second set by a 25-21 score on a kill by junior Elle Patterson, the Rock came roaring back with wins in games three and four, taking the third set, 25-22 on an ace by North senior Hailey Burns and game four, 25-23 on a Falcon service error.
In the end, Pennsbury prevailed when it jumped out to a quick lead in game five and never looked back on its way to a decisive 15-7 win.
Even though game two was closer than game one, the Falcons controlled the action for the most part and won the match by four. North took leads of 11-10 and 14-13 in the second set, showing that the Pennsbury armor could be cracked, however.
An ace by Patterson capped a 9-6 Falcon run and gave Pennsbury a late 19-17 lead it never relinquished. A cross-the-court kill by senior Ava Patterson and an ace by the 12th-grader brought some in the crowd to their feet with the chant “Ava, Ava.’
The 24th point — the product of a lengthy volley between the sides — went the Falcons’ way on a net ball by North before younger sister Elle ended it.
Pennsbury never got more than a 2-point lead in game three and the Indians tied the match at 16-all on two consecutive balls hit out of bounds by the Falcons.
A pair of kills by North senior Megan Hannagan and one by Katie Rentz put the Indians within reach until Burns ended it with the ace.
While Pennsbury went up 5-1 early in game four, they couldn’t hold the lead and North senior Krista Campbell tied it at 5-all with a kill.
The Indians went up 19-16 on two consecutive blocks by sophomore Hadley Grundman, then the Falcons tied the score on a pair of aces by Steiner sandwiched around an error on the side of North.
“Brandi is our go-to hitter during the game,’ said Pennsbury junior Kate Foley. “I always know that when I set the ball to her, she’s going to put it away.’
A net ball by the Indians gave the lead back to the home team but Grundman tied it at 20 with a kill. Senior Lauren Bransfield laid one over the net that found the floor but Pennsbury hit one out on the next volley to tie it at 21.
Campbell and Hannagan teamed up on the next point for the visitors then Campbell’s ace put Rock on top by two. A net ball by the Falcons had the Indians staring at the game point and indeed, they thought they had it when Pennsbury hit the next volley out of bounds.
The game official ruled otherwise, however, drawing Pennsbury within two. The next ruling went against the Rock too and now it was a 1-point game. A service error by the Falcons however, set it all up for the rubber match.
Taking an early 3-0 lead on Elle Patterson’s ace, Pennsbury held a lead of 5-2 it quickly doubled to 10-4.
“We decided we wanted to win the mini-games,’ explained Foley. “So we wanted to get to five and then we wanted to get to 10 and then we wanted to get to 15.’ “That was how we pushed through.’
A couple of Kills by Elle Patterson extended the Falcons’ edge to 12-4 and an ace by junior Sydney French registered the 13th point. A kill by Foley and a service error by North put this one in the win column for the Falcons.
With the victory, Pennsbury pushes to 1-1 overall, 1-0 in the SOL National Conference. Elle Patterson led the Falcons with 17 kills. Sister Ava added 13 and Steiner had 10. Dagny Gould led Pennsbury with 14 digs, Elle Patterson added 12, Steiner, 11 and Ava, 9.
While CR North falls to 0-3, overall, 0-2 in the SONL, Lady Indians head coach Kinsey Lynch is encouraged at the way her team bounced back in the later stages of the battle with the Falcons.
“Since the beginning of the season, we’ve been like the little engine that could,” stated Lynch. “Sometimes, it takes us a while to build up our momentum. Our best volleyball was towards the end of the match.”
“I told them they should not feel defeated. They gave it their all and I was really proud of them.
The coach added that her players have been practicing really hard, of late.
It would seem that it’s paying off.
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