Pennridge spooked by Garnet Valley in District 1-AAA third place match

ABINGTON — It is the home of the Ghosts and the Pennridge girls volleyball team believes it. The last few days on Abington’s haunted hardwood have gut-checked the Rams. They came in Thursday as the undefeated top-seed in the District 1-AAA field and the left Saturday, still alive for states, but forced to settle for the fourth and final spot out of the district.

First it was a sweep at the hands of Bishop Shanahan in the district semifinals that spooked the Rams psyche a little bit. They thought with Halloween over they could return to Abington and avenge its first loss of the season. Garnet Valley dropped the first two games, but rose from the dead to take a 3-2 win (18-25, 16-25, 25-12, 28-26, 15-5) on Saturday. “We had that game,’ Rams coach Zech States said. “It was all mental. We had it in our heads. Garnet Valley played with their heart and wanted it more than we did.’

A 7-2 start in game one made it look like the Rams (17-2) fought off any evil spirits and were ready to right the ship. They went back to the fundamentals on Friday and after 25-18 and 25-16 wins in the first two games, it looked like all was well in Rams Country. They were all over the court digging out Jaguar (17-4) swings. Senior libero Kelly Bergen made 22 digs and senior back-row defender Nene Scanavacca tallied 12 digs in the five-gamer.

“Nene is in there for that reason,’ States said. “She is quick and she can get to the ball. If we play the way we can, we can hang in there with anyone. We cannot play like we did here at Abington. We have to be more consistent and play hard.’

After losing focus in Game Three, a 25-12 job by the Jags, the Suburban One League Continental Conference champs held a 20-17 advantage in the fourth game. A call that would have put the Rams up 24-23 went in the Jaguars favor, and though they fought during extra points, an eventual 28-26 win for the Chest-Mont club put the Rams on the ropes.

“Going into that third game we knew they were going to be a different team,’ States said. “They were going to switch stuff around on us and they were not just going to give us the game. We had to earn it and we did not do that.’

Winning its first 17 games with relative ease actually may have limited the chances the Rams had this season to embrace the trying times and stay even-keeled during the dark points. Sure, they have been known to rally back to win a game or two this season, but never have they had to do so against a team the caliber of the third-seeded Jaguars.

“We went back to the fundamentals and I thought at times we did serve-recieve better,’ States said. “Once we get down on ourselves it can be hard to get back. It is frustrating from a coaching aspect.

A two-game losing streak is unchartered territory for the Rams, but this time they will have more than one day to respond before the PIAA AAA playoffs start. And they are done with Abington’s gym. On Tuesday they will head to Governor Mifflin to play the District Three champs. Whether it be Cumberland Valley or Hempfield, it will be another experienced group trying to scare the Rams.

“It has not been too good here (at Abington),’ States said. “We have the personnel to do this. They are great together, but they need to lift each other up a little better.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply