Downingtown West reaches district quarterfinals for first time

CALN – “That has got to be the biggest win for our program,’

Those were the words of Downingtown West head coach Dave Parrish after a thrilling five-set District 1 Class AAA playoff game against Unionville.

West (11-2) were able to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history, but the win was not easy by any stretch of the imagination. The Whippets beat a tenacious Unionville (11-2) team in five grueling sets (25-19, 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-9).

Unionville had the 2-1 set advantage and an 18-13 lead in that fourth set but West dug deep and rallied back with clutch hits and digs from the entire starting lineup. They tied it up at 22 and the standing room only crowd was roaring with approval.

Sarah Schneider was leading the way, sacrificing her body all over the court and had timely kills; she had an incredible 40 digs in the match along with 13 kills. West took the last three points and it was time for a fifth set with the crowd going wild.

The Whippets took this momentum into the fifth set and did not look back. Unionville was not making the same plays that it did in the first four sets and West was on a high that could not be broken.

After Anne Hays got the final kill to conclude the match, West’s bench stormed the court and the student section followed.

“Getting to the elite eight is an incredible achievement for our team,’ Parrish said. ” (Unionville) Coach (Rob) Conti-D’Antonio has an awesome program and they gave us a huge fight. Some things went right for us at the end of the fourth game and the momentum carried over to that fifth set. I really cannot explain what happened but we are going forward.’

We have seen it all year with West, they have a history of winning these five set matches,’ Conti-D’antonio said. “Clearly their home crowd was an important factor in the game; there were so many momentum shifts in that match. We pulled the third set out of the fire like they did the fourth, it was a crazy match. I give West all the credit, they played well but I am proud of my girls for the way they competed.’

Unionville had the match won in the fourth set before falling apart late. Many players on their side had great performances.

Alli Lowe had 16 kills and 20 digs, she was all over the court the entire match. Sydney Salle added 16 kills while Molly McCann was setting up teammates with regularity as she paced the Indians with 30 assists.

“There were so many ups and downs in this match,’ Chloe McCarty said. “I think the biggest battle for us was staying on top of our game and not getting down on ourselves when we made mistakes.’

McCarty had seven digs and three kills for the Whippets.

“We really stayed together in that fourth set,’ West’s Anne Hays commented. “It was such an intense match; it was an awesome win for the program.’

West now plays Pennridge in the quarterfinals. That game will be played next Tuesday at Pennridge. Unionville had a successful season but now their season is over.

“We have played Pennridge before and they beat us but we won a couple sets against them so we have to come to play and be just as excited like we were tonight,’ McCarty said.

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