Perkiomen Valley falls to Garnet Valley in district quarterfinals

GLEN MILLS – The storyline was just too perfect.

After falling to Garnet Valley in the opening round of last years’s District 1-AAA playoffs, Perkiomen Valley meet up with the Jaguars again in Tuesday’s district semifinal with revenge on their minds.

But the No. 3 seed Jaguars quashed the No. 11 seed Vikings’ hopes of turning the tables with a 3-0 victory.

Garnet Valley (16-3) won by scores of 25-13, 25-22 and 25-20 to advance to the semifinals and face either Upper Merion or Downingtown East on Thursday at Abington.

Garnet Valley head coach Mark Clark admitted sweeping Perkiomen Valley (13-6) was the last thing his team had anticipated.

“We knew this was going to be a really tough match coming in,’ he said. “Perkiomen Valley has a lot of good players who can strike at any point. We knew that we needed to come out with a lot of fire and gain an edge early in the match.’

Although they may not have expected it, the Jaguars gained the early edge and kept it on their side.

For Perkiomen Valley coach Chang Han, the loss was harder to swallow the second time around.

“It’s a tough feeling to earn a trip to districts and end the season losing to the same team two years in a row,’ said Han. “But credit to them, they did a great job of keeping us out of our rhythm all night. They didn’t let us get set from the very beginning.’

PV struggled to put anything together in the first game as Garnet Valley jumped out to an early 8-2 lead spearheaded by two aces from Kelly Sarabaugh.

Cayla Veverka posted three kills and three blocks in the set while Ellie Min had five assists and Caitlyn Corcoran had two kills and an assist.

Garnet Valley’s Adriana Plush posted six kills and three assists while Elise Cummings had seven digs in the first game.

“Our team was really amped up from the very beginning of the match,’ said Plush. “We came out strong, took the momentum right away and kept it on our side throughout all three games.’

According to Veverka, the Vikings needed to gain their composure and get settled early in the match, something they had not experienced often this season.

“We had a lot of nerves to shake off in that first set,’ said Veverka. “We made a lot of little mistakes which ultimately put his behind early. It was frustrating, but we knew we just needed to settle in and pull ourselves together.’

Unfortunately for Perkiomen Valley, the Jaguars brought the same intensity to the second game, jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead.

Then, under the service of Emilia Leyes and two kills from Veverka, the Vikings found themselves leading 19-16.

But Garnet Valley kept its composure, and eventually came back with a 9-3 spurt to take the game — which included thee kills and an assist from Plush, eight digs from Cummings and Sarabaugh’s five assists.

For the Vikings, Veverka and Emilia Leyes combined for seven kills while Min had seven assists in the second game.

With their backs against the wall, the Vikings hoped to bring themselves back into the match.

Throughout the consistently tight third set, Veverka posted three kills and four digs to go along with three digs from Jen Maurer and three assists from Min.

But the Garnet Valley offense proved to be too strong for Perkiomen Valley, as Plush put up three kills and six assists while Kiley Price had two kills and Jenna Hostetier had four assists.

And with that, the Vikings season came to a close.

“This was one of the strongest teams I’ve ever been a part of,’ said Maurer. “I’m really proud of how much we improved throughout the year and got all the way to this point in districts. It says a lot about how hard we worked.’

“I’m glad the girls got to experience making it this far in districts,’ said Han. “We’re still a young team with a lot of bright stars, so I have a lot of confidence in the girls next season.’

Veverka, a junior who has been a leader on the court all season, sums up the season simply as “an experience.’

“It was a great year for us,’ she said. “We got so much better from last season with a lot of young players. I can’t wait to see what we can do next season.’

Although Tuesday’s final chapter of the season didn’t go exactly as the Vikings had planned, with the return of juniors Veverka, Corcoran, Leyes and Emily Oltman and a very talented group of underclassmen next season, the story isn’t quite finished just yet.

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