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Garnet Valley throws block party to beat Hatboro-Horsham, advance to PIAA volleyball tournament

Garnet Valley's Sarah Weins, left, and MaryPearl Tienasbeso set up the block at the net in a match against Ridley in September. (PETE BANNAN - DAILY TIMES)

CONCORD – At 5-10, Garnet Valley junior Sarah Weins usually is one of the taller players on the court.

That wasn’t the case against Hatboro-Horsham Thursday.

When Weins peered across the net, she had to look up. The Hatters featured a lineup that included Kayla Jones, Jade Lauzer and Nastya Tsetsko, all of whom are 6-1, and 5-11 Isabelle Bombas.

Yet Weins wasn’t scared.

“I saw it as a challenge,” Weins said. “It was a chance to see what I can do at the net.”

Garnet Valley’s front line, led by Weins, senior Kately Dugery and junior MaryPearl Tienabeso, fared quite well against the taller Hatters. The trio combined for 19 kills and 10 blocks to power the Jaguars to a 3-0 victory in the District 1 Class 5A fifth-place game.

Weins finished with four kills and five blocks. Dugery added four kills, three blocks and three aces, while Tienabeso had 11 kills and two blocks to send the Jaguars (19-3) into the PIAA tournament next Tuesday against District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll.

“I have a lot of confidence in our block,” Weins said. “We’ve proven that we can get a block down against any type of height. I was very impressed with the way we played at the net.”

The net play and the service game, led by Dugery, was the difference in a tight match the Jaguars won, 25-18, 25-22, 25-18.

Dugery came up with two huge blocks and a kill to secure the victory in the first set. Garnet Valley had a 20-17 lead when Dugery blocked Jones and then Lauzier and put down a kill off an assist from Maddie Wood (25 assists, one kill, one block) to extend the advantage to 23-17. The Hatters did not recover.

“We did a really good job today of not getting down on ourselves,” Dugery said. “They came in with a huge block and we kept covering and swinging and didn’t give up on anything.”

In a back-and-forth battle in the second set, Duggery came through again with the first of her three aces to give the Jaguars a 24-22 lead. Tienabeso put home a perfect pass from Wood to seal the victory and put Garnet Valley up, 2-0.

“As a setter, I was like, ‘Where are my options?’” Hatboro-Horsham’s Grace Howard said. “I didn’t know who to set. Their block was very good.”

Garnet Valley’s block and Dugery’s work from the service line enabled the Jaguars to rally from an 8-2 deficit in the third set. Trailing, 15-13, GV ran off 10 straight points with Dugery at the service line. She had two aces in that stretch and Weins came up with two blocks.

“I was just really focused on getting my serves in,” Dugery said. “Everyone else did the work. Sarah was killing it on the blocks and everybody was making plays. We focused on maintaining our energy throughout the match and I think our energy is what got us through this.”

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