Perkiomen Valley pulls away from Spring-Ford in 4 sets

COLLEGEVILLE >> Coming off a season that saw them reach the District 1-AAA semifinals, Perkiomen Valley’s girls volleyball team, returning a good amount of experience, has big plans this season.

The PAC-10 opener for the Vikings Thursday against Spring-Ford, also launching its league schedule, pursued a pattern that in the long run would constitute living dangerously in the post-season. But on the plus side for the host Vikings, PV also showed the type of rallying resolve that could carry them a long way.

Perkiomen Valley's Helena Clauhs (34) sends a spike past the block attempts of Spring-Ford's Samantha Casamento (22) and Paige DeAlba (20) Thursday. (Tom Kelly III - For The Mercury)
Perkiomen Valley’s Helena Clauhs (34) sends a spike past the block attempts of Spring-Ford’s Samantha Casamento (22) and Paige DeAlba (20) Thursday. (Tom Kelly III – For The Mercury)

Trailing early in game one and late, by a lot, in game two, the Vikings came back to win both and went on to defeat the gritty Rams in four games, 25-17, 25-22, 19-25 and 25-11.

“We’re happy in the end they picked up their play after the slow starts,” first-year Perkiomen Valley coach Drew Scheeler said after his team improved to 2-0 overall. “Give Spring-Ford all the credit; they didn’t give up on a single play.

“The fourth game we kind of stepped it up a notch, and hopefully we’ll continue to play like we did the fourth game. Our defense is picking up, which hopefully is going to take us to the next level.”
Led by a tall, athletic front line and by solid play through the back, the Vikings held off a game Spring-Ford team that fought off the frustration of losing a game two that it had mostly controlled. The Rams stayed alive by dominating and winning the third game.

“That third game gave us some momentum,” said Spring-Ford’s returning All-Area first team libero Lisa Jurewicz. “The fourth game we kind of lost our sync, had some errors. We’ll get ‘em next time.”

“I really thought we were going to win after the third game,” added Spring-Ford senior Brittany Holman. “We had good momentum, we were really into it, and we had so much energy.”

Ultimately at the net Perkiomen Valley’s Cayla Veverka (16 kills), an All-Area first-teamer last fall, Caitlin Corcoran (13) and Helena Clauhs (10) were the major difference. In the back, standout libero Emilia Leyes kept many balls alive (21 digs). Ellie Min dispensed 23 assists. For Spring-Ford, Ashley Darreff had nine kills and four blocks, sophomore Carly Swenson contributed 12 assists, 21 digs and an ace, and freshman Olivia Olsen made six kills.

Spring-Ford (0-2) jumped to a 4-1 lead in game one but the Vikings found a rhythm and reeled off eight straight points to take control. Emily Oltman and Hannah Rice contributed terrific saves during the run.

Spring-Ford's Carly Swenson (27) sets the ball for a teammate Thursday against Perkiomen Valley. (Tom Kelly III - For The Mercury)
Spring-Ford’s Carly Swenson (27) sets the ball for a teammate Thursday against Perkiomen Valley. (Tom Kelly III – For The Mercury)

Led by Darreff, the Rams battled back to within 18-16, but Veverka and Corcoran combined to put game one away.

Spring-Ford got out strong in game two, its defense playing tenaciously while Darreff and Paige DeAlba keyed a big surge to put the Rams up 18-11. But from there, the Vikings went on a huge 14-4 run, getting very good setting and efficient offense to score seven straight and tie it at 18.

There were some impressive long sequences with both teams diving and lunging and doing everything possible to save balls and score. From a tie at 20, Veverka, Clauhs and Corcoran went on a power surge to pull away to a five-point win.

But the Vikings couldn’t put away the feisty Rams in game three. Spring-Ford, with Holman and Calista Dominy showing finesse on some touch shots over the net, found openings. Again the Rams led early, and with Darreff and DeAlba among those making big shots, they led late, too. Oltman and Corcoran kept Perkiomen Valley within range, but two well-placed kills by Darreff stretched the lead to 20-13 and the Rams were back in business.

At that point the match could’ve gone either way. The Vikings decided which way it was going to go. They bounced to a quick 10-point cushion (14-4) in game four and kept their foot on the accelerator.

“The priority at that point was our passing,” Veverka said. “Our defense was a lot better. Our offense is always on, so we need to work a little on defense, but in the fourth game we did well.
“We all talked out what we needed to figure out. We have some new players trying to jell together and I think we did really well this game.”

“We brought out more energy in the fourth game and were ready to put them away,” Corcoran said. “They’re a scrappy team but we pulled together.”

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