By Lisa Byers
LISA BYERS/Meadville Tribune
GUYS MILLS —
One of the reasons Maplewood girls volleyball coach Sheila Bancroft began hosting a late season invitational was to give her Lady Tigers an abundance of great competition with the postseason just around the corner.
Maplewood and several other teams from western Pennsylvania certainly got that Saturday.
Twelve of the area’s top teams, including defending PIAA Class AA state champion Fort LeBoeuf, converged at Maplewood High School yesterday for the Maplewood Invitational.
A tournament that featured several close matches throughout, concluded with an epic as the state’s top ranked Class AA team Fort LeBoeuf held on to beat McDowell 28-30, 25-14, 15-8 for the title.
“It was definitely a big, big tournament,” Cambridge Springs head coach John Turner said. “In my eyes, everybody was pretty much even.
“It wasn’t like some other tournaments where you get some teams that are lucky to score 10 points. A lot of the matches were 25-20, 25-18. The competition was really good.”
The Blue Devils weren’t one of the teams to fare well, however. Cambridge Springs finished the day at 2-8.
“We played Fort LeBoeuf really well early in the day and then after that we didn’t do much,” Turner said.
Maplewood and Cochranton did have success. The two advanced to the semifinals. Maplewood fell to McDowell and No. 7 Cochranton fell to Fort LeBoeuf.
The Tigers finished 7-3 on the day, as did the Cardinals.
In the semifinals, McDowell knocked off Maplewood 25-18, while Fort LeBoeuf beat Cochranton 25-20.
Also competing at Maplewood were Titusville, Grove City, General McLane, Meadville, Corry, Wilmington and Bradford.
Meadville finished 6-4 overall in Pool B.
In the first round of the playoffs, Bradford knocked off Grove City, while General McLane beat Corry. Wilmington defeated Titusville as well to advance.