EAST ROCKHILL >> Pennridge got the early edge Tuesday night, prevailing 29-27 over William Tennent in an epic first set.
Even more crucial was what followed.
“We came out and grabbed it,” Rams coach Dave Childs said. “We jumped to a lead in Game Two and that was really the key to everything.”
Ram momentum kept building from there, as second-seeded Pennridge pulled away to a 3-0 victory (29-27, 25-22, 25-17) over No. 6 William Tennent in a District 1-3A Semifinal at Pennridge.
The Rams are back in familiar confines – the district final. Pennridge will take on either Upper Dublin or Haverford Thursday night at Bensalem. The Rams have also clinched a spot in the PIAA Tournament.
The Panthers can still get to states but will have to beat the loser of the Upper Dublin-Haverford match in the third-place game Thursday night at Bensalem.
“We stayed aggressive,” said Childs, who has guided Pennridge to the district final for the 10th time in 14 seasons. “We missed 11 serves in Game One. We didn’t blink. We stayed aggressive and served more efficiently as the match went on. That’s key for us. We wanna be an aggressive team. We always have been and we’re gonna keep doing that.
“Huge credit to Tennent. They really played well. They’re one of the best defensive teams we played. They have a great coaching staff and really did a great job.”
Evan Jalosinski, Jude Rotondo, Bryce Ammon, Aaron Ladd, Thomas McKinney, Gavin Stayer and Ty Porter all contributed to the Rams’ success.
“It feels amazing,” Rotondo said. “I think we had a little bit of jitters (Monday night) at practice but I don’t think it showed. We had a great fan base tonight and great everything.
“That first set was huge. It gave us a ton of momentum, we carried it into the second set and we just took it all the way.”
After a tight, back-and-forth battle in the first set, Pennridge got out to leads of 12-6 and 13-6 in the second and third sets.
“I think consistency (was key for us),” Rotondo said. “We were able to keep our serves somewhat consistent. The defense was great and the setting was awesome. We weren’t getting stopped a whole lot and I think that’s really what determined it.”
The Panthers still have life.
“We knew their serving was gonna be tough,” Tennent coach Jim Creighton said. “We just tried to not let it hurt us too much. But at the critical points, we just couldn’t put the ball away. They’re a very well-coached team and they have a lot of options.
“We’ll just have to try and keep the guys composed. We had some good things defensively but as far as blocking, we just weren’t up to speed with their offense yet…We’ll be at Bensalem Thursday and they’re in our league, so we’ve been in that gym before.”