Destiny is now in the hands of the Conneaut Lady Eagles.
Conneaut put itself in the driver’s seat for Region 4’s automatic District 10 Class AA playoff berth on Thursday night with an impressive 25-23, 25-22, 25-18 win over state-ranked Corry.
The Eagles improved to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in Region 4 and avenged a five-game loss to the Beavers back on Sept. 10. And they did so in front of an electric crowd at Conneaut Area Senior High. Corry, ranked No. 7 in the state in Class AA in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s Top 10 Poll, fell to 6-1 overall and in the region.
“What an atmosphere,” Conneaut coach Tim Schleicher said. “It’s nice to have that support for volleyball because not a whole lot of other teams get that.
“That was a really well-played match. We knew what we had to do and we came out with a win in three.”
All three games were close throughout, but the Eagles trailed just five times the entire match. Corry took its first lead in Game 1 at 17-16. It didn’t last for long, however, as Allison Snider, one of the big stories of the night, put a kill down the right line to give the Eagles an 18-17 lead.
Corry did make it interesting in the late stages, rallying to pull within one (24-23) on a hitting error by the Eagles. But another key player last night, Angie Vickers, came through with a kill off the block of talented 6-foot-1 middle hitter Brooklyn Goodsel to seal the win.
“Oh my goodness,” Schleicher said, referring to the play of unsung heroes Vickers and Snider. “And that’s a new position for (Snider) these last couple of weeks. She played opposite her sophomore year, so it’s somewhere where she is comfortable. But she took some big swings for us and scored a ton of points on the right side.
“We know when you have a team with outside hitters like ours (Challen Litwiler and Kristen Baker) and you get players to step up like Allison on the right side and Angie in the middle it takes a lot of pressure off and keeps teams guessing.”
Game 2 was much of the same. Conneaut, again, had a decent sized lead only to see it dwindle late. Again, Corry pulled to within one (24-23) on a block by Bret Anderson. But, again, it was Vickers coming through big.
Conneaut went to Litwiler twice on the final rally, but after Corry brought up the second attempt, the Eagles threw a curveball and went to Vickers on the right side and she converted for a 25-22 win and a two-game lead.
“At the end of the day both matches, the one in Corry and this one, came down to just a couple of points on both sides of the net,” Corry coach Kelly Goodsel said. “We made a couple too many errors (last night). We hit the ball in the court and they hit it down the line.
“It’s a great match. We love playing these guys. They’re very good. They stress us. We think we’re pretty good, but we’re a year behind them. They have 10 seniors. We have six juniors. It’s good competition and its good for our players to feel that stress.”
Goodsel did acknowledge the Eagles’ fan base, a good 50 percent of which were members of the Conneaut student body. And they were boisterous.
“The crowd here was outstanding for them,” he said. “Halfway through the first game my head was spinning just from the noise, which good for them. It taught our kids a lot. I’m happy with the way we played.”
There is still plenty of season left to play — five matches within the region, in fact. And anything can happen. But if the playoffs were to start right now, the Eagles, by virtue of the three-game win as opposed to the Beavers’ five-game win earlier this season, would most likely earn a playoff bid on the opposite side of the bracket as the state’s No. 1-ranked Class AA team and defending state champion Fort LeBoeuf.
“That’s huge,” Conneaut senior outside hitter Kristen Baker said. “We’re happy we were able to put this game down. Now we just have to continue and focus on the rest of the season.”
“It’s absolutely huge,” Schleicher said. “You want to get out of the same half of the bracket as Fort LeBoeuf. Obviously we still have a lot to do, but that’s the first step.”
Litwiler and Baker finished with 10 kills each to lead the Eagles. Litwiler also added 17 digs, while Baker added 16 digs and three blocks. Kimmy Litwin finished with 17 digs and Kristen Laird had eight digs. Vickers and Snider finished with seven and five kills, respectively, with two blocks each. Aliyah Hutman dished out 21 assists.
For the Beavers, Goodsel finished with 13 kills. Abby Gluvna had 16 assists and five kills. Maddie Merkle had 19 assists and Rachel Dingfelder 13 digs.
Destiny is now in the hands of the Conneaut Lady Eagles.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
Lancers get tough draw in opener
One may think that by winning a District 10 title and getting paired up with the seventh seed out of District 7 for the first round of the state playoffs, that said champion would have a pretty choice matchup.
Yet, that’s not how things shook out for the General McLane girls basketball team. The D-10 champion Lady Lancers drew a challenging foe in Neshannock.
’Dogs rout Bison to reach title game
Having defeated Fort LeBoeuf by a grand total of 24-0 in their previous three meetings, the tension wasn’t exactly palpable for the Meadville Bulldogs hockey team as it squared off with the Bison in a Lakeshore Hockey League semfinal game on Thursday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
Calvary wins opener
The Calvary Baptist girls basketball team won its opening game of the National Christian School Athletic Association Tournament on Thursday at Family First Sports Park.
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