Cochranton has played outstanding volleyball all season long, and it’s 15-0 record heading into Thursday night’s District 10 Class A semifinals is indicative of that.
But against rival Maplewood and with a spot in the District 10 title match on the line, the Lady Cardinals stepped up their game to a whole other level.
The Lady Cardinals executed in every facet last night on their way to a 25-10, 25-14, 25-8 win over the defending District 10 Class A champion Tigers at Meadville Area Senior High’s House of Thrills.
“They did come to play (last night),” Cochranton coach Marci Malliard said. “They finally listened to what we’ve been saying to them all year. They did some things we have been asking them to do.”
The Cardinals will play Region 2 rival Cambridge Springs in the District 10 Class A title match on Saturday at 1 p.m. back at the House of Thrills. The Blue Devils beat Region 1 champion West Middlesex 27-25, 25-19, 25-16 in the semifinals.
It is the 13th time the Class A final has featured two teams from Crawford County. Sharpsville is the only team outside of the county to play for a title. The Blue Devils lost to Maplewood in last year’s title tilt.
Art of domination
Earlier this season, Maplewood head coach Sheila Bancroft sat at Cochranton High School dumbfounded as her Lady Tigers fell behind the Cardinals 13-1 in the opening set of their Region 2 matchup.
That night, while the Cardinals played an excellent match, Maplewood struggled and made unforced error after unforced error that helped lead to a 25-10, 25-13, 25-23 loss. Last night was a little different.
“They are on fire,” Maplewood coach Sheila Bancroft said. “They have been playing really good ball. No excuses. They played extremely well (last night) and we didn’t give them much of a battle.”
The key for Cochranton was its passing game.
The Lady Cardinals passed with precision. That allowed each and every one of Cochranton’s offensive weapons to get involved. Kendell Dickson had the biggest impact for the Cardinals, especially early on.
Cochranton, in fact, jumped out to an 8-2 lead against the Tigers in the first set. Six of those points were scored by Dickson (one block, five kills).
Then it was Madison Bernarding and then Kassidy Dickson and so on and so forth.
“It all started with the passing and then the hitters just put it away,” Cochranton libero Sam Kinter said. “All aspects of the game were working for us. It was awesome.”