In its opening round win over Jamestown, the Cochranton girls volleyball team played decent, but with room for improvement, especially in the passing and serving categories.
Well, on Thursday afternoon the Cardinals were much sharper in both areas and it showed on the scoreboard.
At Meadville’s House of Thrills, Cochranton swept West Middlesex 25-13, 25-8, 25-13 in the District 10 Class 1A girls volleyball quarterfinals.
“I felt we passed better tonight without a doubt,” said Cochranton head coach Marci Malliard. “We were able to swing at the ball. More people got swings at the ball.”
It was clear from the start that Cochranton came to play. Each set began with a strong Cardinals’ run. A couple aces from Lexie Moore and a kill from Megan Heim got Cochranton ahead 9-2 early. Cochranton rolled on from that point to a convincing 25-13 opening set win.
“(Cochranton) has a lot of hitting power. Their serve was very strong,” said West Middlesex
head coach Carole O’Dell.
That power carried right over into the second set and Cochranton jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind some strong serves from Taytum Jackson. Maria Amory sent a pair of kills down the line to boost the advantage to 12-5. Cochranton closed on a 13-3 run to take the second set with little trouble.
Chelsey Freyermuth served the final seven service points to close the set out.
“I’m glad they came up here and didn’t get nervous,” added Malliard.
Cochranton combined for nine aces as a team.
There was no resting on laurels in the final set as Cochranton jumped out to another big lead, this time taking 12 of the first 17 points. Amory and Devyn Sokol slammed home kills to increase the lead to 17-6.
MaKennah White helped West Middlesex get within 24-13 with a pair of blocks and a kill, but the lead was too much for the Big Reds to threaten. White led the way for the Big Reds with six kills, four blocks and 12 digs. Emily Anthony dished out nine assists in the loss.
“(White) got her kills and we knew going in she was going to get her kills,” Malliard said. “As long as you can minimize them. Serve tough and try to keep the ball away from here, that was our goal.”
Heim closed the match out with a cross-court slam. She finished the match with six kills and two digs.
Amory led the attack with 11 kills. Cathryn Miller handed out 20 assists. The defense was anchored by Moore with six digs.
Cochranton moves on to face familiar rival Cambridge Springs next week. Site and time are to be determined for that semifinal matchup.
“I expect it to be a good match. It always is when we play them,” said Malliard. “It has been all these years. Just one of those old (French Creek Valley Conference) rivalries that we miss.”