Meadville Tribune

April 3, 2014

Panthers top Spa in four games

By Frank Foreman
Meadville Tribune

CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — Cliché or not, the Saegertown boys volleyball team truly turned in a team effort Thursday night at Cambridge Springs.

A solid win in Game 1, followed by a come-from-behind victory in Game 2 had the Panthers and a sizable road fan base on their feet, as Saegertown went on to beat the Blue Devils in four games, 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 25-21.

The key for Saegertown, now 2-0 on the year, came during the second game. The rival Blue Devils held a seven-point advantage at 15-8, and still led 18-14 midway though the set before the Panthers and Trevor Pavlik went on a 5-0 run to take their first lead of the set.

The game evened up at 20 apiece before another 5-0 run for the Panthers ended it. A Brendon Barclay kill secured the final point to put the Panthers up 2-0.

“We stole the second game,” Saegertown head coach Justin Johnson said. “They got up big on us and we got up big on them (at the end). The momentum changed in the middle. We started making less mistakes and played better defense.”

Everything was clicking for the Panthers, as Saegertown jumped out to a 19-15 lead in Game 3, eyeing up a sweep of the Blue Devils.

Cambridge Springs had other ideas.

Strong serving from Austin Porter sparked a 6-0 run to push Cambridge Springs (0-1) ahead for the first time in the game (20-19). Both teams traded points and were tied up at 24 before back-to-back points for the Blue Devils gave them the win and brought life back to the home team.

“Overall I thought we did play fairly well,” Cambridge Springs head coach Rick Welker said. “It was our first dual match and there were a little nerves, but the boys passed well tonight and gave us opportunities to attack the ball. When we played offensively good things were happening. We just didn’t do it enough.”

The Panthers responded in the fourth game, highlighted by the fantastic all-around play of Alex Barclay. Fittingly, Alex came up with an emphatic block to put the icing on the cake and end the match.

“We need to work on our blocking,” Welker said. “Saegertown took it to us, especially on the corners. Blocking is the one thing we need to work on for sure.”

Game 1 had both squads trading points until the Panthers began to piece small runs together to build a 19-14 lead. Saegertown added to its lead and could smell victory when it went up 23-16, but the Blue Devils rallied and cut the lead to 23-21.

Saegertown was able to close the door on the comeback.

The Barclay brothers came up big for the Panthers on Thursday, both finishing with 16 kills in the win. Brendon led the team with six aces, followed by Alex with three.

Peter Mattocks made his presence felt in the middle with nine kills, while Pavlik finished with 42 assists.

“I thought it was a good team effort,” Johnson said. “As far as the important part of the game goes with defense and passing the ball, I think everyone did their part.”

For Cambridge Springs, Alex Mailliard led the way with 12 kills, followed by Porter with nine. Tyler Fiely added seven kills in the loss.

“It’s a great win for us,” Johnson said. “Any time you can win on the road in our league, it’s a big win. There is nothing easy in this league.”