Diversity has always been one of Maplewood’s best traits. And on Saturday, the Tigers put that attribute to good work and in a big, big way.

Maplewood got key contributions from each and every member of its team as it downed rival Titusville, 25-12, 25-17, 25-18, to win its record 12th District 10 Class AA title yesterday at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.

The Tigers inched one step closer to defending their state title with the win, earning a spot in the first round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament. Maplewood will play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Penn State Behrend where they will face WPIAL fourth seed South Fayette.

The Rockets will face WPIAL champion Greensburg Salem, ranked second in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, on Tuesday, as well, at a site and time yet to be determined.

“A lot of people said to me, ‘What do you think won (the championship) for you?’” Wood coach Sheila Bancroft said. “I said, ‘The passing did. The serving did. The defense did. The blocking did. The setting did.’ Every one of them did something out there (Saturday). They really pulled together and started to play with consistency.”

It didn’t start out that way, though. In fact, for a moment the Tigers weren’t even sure they’d get a chance to play for the district title with Grove City handing them a 6-1 deficit right out of the gate in the semifinal round. But that’s when the Tigers picked it up.

“The last thing I told (the team) was, ‘You can’t get down five points right off.’” said Bancroft, whose team eventually beat Grove City 25-18, 25-6 to earn a spot in the semis against Titusville. “Here we are 6-1 and they all looked at me and were like, ‘Oh no.’

“That was a lack of defense. Then we really starting playing defense. Their setter never got a tip against us, which she lived on the whole tournament. We shut that part of the game down and pretty much just didn’t let the ball hit the floor. That just continued on into the finals.”

It certainly did and to an even bigger degree.

“I just thought we wanted it really bad,” Bancroft said. “You could see it in all of the girls. We had a game plan coming in and they played smart and did what we asked them to do. I was impressed.

“I thought they would just go in and try to play power ball, because we are a strong hitting team, but they played smart volleyball and placed the ball well.”

Maplewood’s offensive gameplan and outstanding defense stifled the Rockets from the get-go with the Tigers jumping out to an 18-6 lead en route to a 25-12 win in the first game of best-of-five championship match.

Titusville kept it close in the next two games with a total of 14 ties. The Rockets just couldn’t seal the deal, falling to the Tigers for the third time this season and sixth time in two seasons.

“Maplewood, just watching them, has been peaking,” Titusville coach Debbie Carr said. “We knew we were going to have to come in and play good ball.

“It just seemed like they picked up everything. I was just like, ‘Hit something. Fall on the floor somewhere.’”

The Groshner sisters led Maplewood’s defense with a total of 25 digs against Titusville. Angela Groshner had 19 kills, had 12 digs, while Megan added 13 digs with seven kills.

Danielle Brunot had seven kills and 10 blocks. Anna McCurdy had six blocks and 10 digs.

Becca Beightol combined for 54 assists, 19 digs and seven blocks on the day. Tamber Schaef had 21 points with nine aces.

Click here for today's COMPLETE Meadville Tribune

React to this story:


This Week's Circulars