Game Garnet Valley can’t get by Parkland

NAZARETH — In many ways, Parkland’s 3-0 victory over Garnet Valley Tuesday night in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA girls volleyball tournament was like that NRG Energy commercial, where the circa 1930s football team comes running out of the locker room only to see just how big and opposing its opponent is.

Unlike the commercial, though, the Jaguars did not go scurrying back into the locker once they got a glimpse of the Trojans, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, according to

While the Jags were game and feisty, they were no match for the undefeated Trojans.

Parkland’s size and athleticism was too much as the Trojans (23-0) rolled, 25-18, 25-7 and 25-13 at Nazareth High School to earn a quarterfinal date Saturday against Bishop Shanahan, a 3-0 winner over Cardinal O’Hara.

“They’re No. 1 in the state for a reason,’ Garnet Valley coach Mark Clark said. “That’s a good, solid volleyball team. They’re so big and so athletic and my god, can they hit.’

Senior Elise Cummings, who announced that she has applied for early acceptance to Swarthmore College, paced the attack with 15 assists. Fellow senior Jenna Hostetler added 12 assists and junior Kelly Sarbaugh dished out seven assists. Senior Maria Nicolaides had five kills, while Brianna Plush and Kiley Price chipped in with three kills each.

But it wasn’t enough to match Parkland.

“They’re a very seasoned group of volleyball players,’ Cummings said. “They work so well as a team and they have so much experience. They’ve been here before.’

Although Parkland did not make the PIAA Tournament last year, it is no stranger to the big dance. The Trojans won the Class AAA title in 2012 and was the runner-up the year before that.

But it was the front line of senior outside hitter Brooke Robertson, junior outside hitter Siena Salvaggio and junior middle hitter Sam Webber who proved too be too much for the Jags. Salvaggio led the Parkland attack with nine kills. Robertson had eight kills and four aces. Webber added six kills, while junior setter Kristin Krause set the attack in motion with 28 assists.

“Their block was really tough,’ Cummings said. “We had a tough time getting around their block. And the power of their hits, we don’t see that in the Central League.’

That’s the lesson the Jaguars take away from their first trip to the PIAA Tournament since 1996 and first in Class AAA. It took Garnet Valley three years to break through and make the state tournament.

“This motivates us for next year,’ Sarbaugh said. “It makes you want to come out and work hard to get better. They were tough, but I liked playing against them. It was fun trying to dive to get to the ball.’

The Jaguars didn’t get to too many balls, mostly because of the accuracy of Parkland’s hitters. After giving Parkland all it could in the first set, Garnet Valley could only string together back-to-back points once in the second set.

The Trojans scored the first five points to take control of the third set. While the Jags got to within five points three times in the third set, Parkland ran off nine of the last 13 points to put the match away.

“I’m proud of the girls,’ Clark said. “They fought hard. They found out what it takes to get to the next level.’

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