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November 11, 2012

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: ’Dogs fall in four to Mars

November 11, 2012 7:00 a.m. SHARPSVILLE — Special groups of players only come around so often. And in 25 years of coaching Meadville coach Tammy Webber said she has only once had a group of seniors like this year’s bunch.

They are extremely talented and passionate for the game. This was supposed to be their year. They wound up falling just short.

Meadville saw its season come to an end on Saturday with a 25-18, 27-25, 20-25, 25-16 loss to Mars in the PIAA Class AA girls volleyball state quarterfinals at Sharpsville High School.

“This kind of class comes along once in a blue moon,” Webber said. “I mean in 25 years of coaching I’ve had two classes like this. I’ve had classes who have gone to states, but they just weren’t this talented.”

Among those seniors are outside hitters Leah Jones and Monica Jackson. Webber said both have a desire to play in college, but neither have made a decision as to wear.

It was Jackson and Jones who helped pave the way for the Bulldogs again yesterday. Jones had 17 kills and 26 digs. Jackson had 19 kills, 18 digs and four aces. Eight of her kills came in the second set, which MASH led 5-0.

“Again we gave up big leads,” Webber said. “That’s tough.”

Meadville got off to a slow start and in Game 1 found itself trailing Mars, the WPIAL champion, 7-2. That deficit grew to as many as 10 more than once.

A key was the Bulldogs’ inability to maintain serve, which all season has been a valuable weapon. Meadville did manage to put together a couple of runs, but it was too late.

Mars took a two-set lead with its 27-25 come from behind win in Game 2. Meadville, though, wasn’t finished.

The Bulldogs led by just one in the third set, but were finally able to get something going from the service line. Jackson had back to back to back aces that extended MASH’s lead to six (16-10). Meadville won the set, 25-20.

The fourth set, though, was a struggle.

“We belonged here,” Webber said. “It wasn’t a ‘how did you get here’ thing. We prove we belong. We just didn’t get it done.”

The Bulldogs, the Region 4 champions, finish their season at 18-3. Mars advances to take on Fort LeBoeuf in the state semifinals Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

In addition to Jones and Jackson, Meadville says goodbye to seniors Mylinda Hartnett, who had 21 digs, and Christy Espy, who tallied five digs.

Katie Newman had 21 digs, 34 assists and three blocks.

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