Rustin cruises to emotional win

WESTTOWN – It was senior night for the West Chester Rustin volleyball team on Thursday night, but that’s not the only thing that was on the minds of senior’s Taylor Mullin and Brittany Fichter. After a team event Wednesday night, three starting players were involved in a car accident. Though the players are expected to be fine, it definitely rattled the team as they heard the news Thursday morning.

Despite having to play with a patchworked lineup, the Golden Knights pulled out a straight sets Ches-Mont League victory over West Chester East, 25-22, 25-16, 25-23.

“They have been under a lot of adversity in the last 24 hours,’ Rustin head coach Toni Woodward said. “They did a great job of stepping it up and playing in different positions. I threw girls all over the court today, they knew that they have been working so hard and they weren’t going to let the accident hinder their success today.’

The team honored Mullin and Fichter before the game started, as the Golden Knights (3-6) jumped out fast. Mullin had two kills, two aces, five digs, and three assists, while. Fichter had a good service game as well with three aces, and also contributed six digs and three kills.

“It has been pretty crazy today,’ Mullin said. “This is my first night back from an injury and we had to pull a few players up from JV, and with senior night, there was just a lot going on. We just had to do what we had to do under the circumstances. I thought we rallied as a team nicely.’

“I am really proud of everyone,’ Fichter said. “I knew we had in us it was just about going out and executing. We had a student section for the first time which was nice. I have played three sports here and volleyball is definitely my favorite. I am really going to miss this group.’

East (3-7, 4-10) showed a lot of fight but just could not finish off a rally when they needed it the most. Ali Ward and Lauryn Cooper each had five kills apiece. Leah Ritchey had nine digs and Taylor Crawford dished out 18 assists.

“We took a nap in that second set, but I am proud of the girls for playing hard in the third set and showing some fight. We are close, this has been an improving season for us,’ East coach Jim Virgilio said.

Rustin kept the ball in play a lot better than East. The service game for Rustin was also a lot stronger and they controlled the pace of play. Outside hitter Valentina Mattera was all over the court for the Golden Knights. Not only did she lead the team in aces with five, but she also had nine digs and four kills on the day.

“Fortunately, my two seniors were able to get here and play on their night. Emotions very high with all the crazy stuff going on, I am so proud of the girls for hanging in there today and getting this big win over a talented East team,’ Woodward said.

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