Plymouth Whitemarsh celebrates Senior Night with win over Norristown

WHITEMARSH — On Senior Night in front of a packed and raucous gym, the Plymouth Whitemarsh girls volleyball team fed off the energy of their fans and defeated Norristown in straight sets, 25-16, 25-19, and 25-18.

“Lot of energy,’ PW head coach Seely Byler said of the support. “That was another thing that kind of factored in because everybody wanted that kill and I have nine seniors, so everybody wanted to be that hero.

“It was fun to play with that energy, but it made things a little nervous for us.’

Although the Colonials (11-7, 9-5) were able to sweep the Eagles (2-13, 2-12) in the Suburban One League American Conference match, the score was not indicative of how the match was played.

“Norristown is always a tough match and they always take it right to us — they play really hard,’ PW head coach Byler went on.

“I would have liked to see us play more aggressive. There were a lot of unforced errors, that kind of thing — we’re just looking to improve going into districts.’

The first set comprised of both teams trading points, going back and forth on four different lead changes before PW ran away with the set for good after a 9-9 tie.

The Colonials would win the next 16 of 23 points behind the strong play of Olivia Carbo, as the sophomore brought the hammer down for five kills.

After taking the first set, 25-16, Plymouth Whitemarsh moved onto the second game and looked to bury its SOL American rival in a two-nil hole.

But again, Norristown wouldn’t go down easy.

The Colonials started the second scoring four in a row, but Norristown’s Taijah James and Devon Morris shined at the net, blocking PW attacks and countering with kills of their own.

The Eagles clawed their way back into the game, cutting the lead to 19-16, but that was the closest Norristown would come to threatening the Colonial stronghold in the match.

Using their serving game PW was able to close it out, 25-19, going up two sets with the decisive third set about to go underway.

“We served really tough tonight and that kept them off-balance,’ Byler said.

In the third set, play got antsy for the Colonials as Norristown ripped off seven points in a row, trailing 18-13 — at one point the Eagles were 18-6.

But the PW faithful continued to voice their team on, breaking out into “U.S.A’ chants, “oohing and aahing’ during long rallies, and erupting with glee when the Colonials won the point.

“Sometimes there are crowds where it’s dead and you don’t feel it as much, but you can definitely feel it when all the guys are here,’ PW senior Cassandra Ward said about the Senior Night atmosphere.

“We don’t give up, we never give up easily — we’re always going to fight.’

Ultimately, PW was able to settle in and hold off the ferocious Norristown comeback, 25-18, for a 3-0 sweep and momentum heading into the district playoffs.

“We’re just looking to improve going into districts,’ Byler said. “There were a lot of unforced errors, a lot of ball-handling errors that we have to clean up before next week.’

As for Norristown, the team and coaches will walk away with their heads held high after a hard-fought season.

“(The girls) actually played very well,’ Norristown head coach Bernadette Vereb said.

“Our weaknesses were our defense and our passing; strength was just staying consistent and serving well.

“A little more chatter out there would have helped, but they have come a long way since the beginning of the season — very proud of how they ended the season.’

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