Stewart dig

Meadville’s Ella Stewart passes the ball during the Lady Bulldogs’ Region 4 match against Grove City on Thursday at the House of Thrills. The Eagles beat the ’Dogs in four games, 26-24, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14. 

Cedar Point may have the Steel Vengeance. Kennywood has the Thunderbolt. 

However, the Meadville girls volleyball team has probably had enough of the roller coasters for a little while. The Lady Bulldogs have seemingly been stuck on one for the last couple weeks.

A night after an impressive sweep over Fort LeBoeuf, MASH was back into the valley with a four-set loss to Region 4 opponent Grove City Thursday at the House of Thrills. Final scores were 26-24, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14. 

“As well as we played (Wednesday) night,” said Bulldogs head coach Tim Schleicher. “We just had a lot of errors of hesitation. And Grove City played really well. They’re very disciplined. They beat us on the serve-and-pass.” 

It’s not that Meadville (3-2, 2-1 Region 4) played a particularly bad match. The Bulldogs had several shining moments at the net and on defense during the night.

It’s just that Grove City (3-1, 2-1 Region 4) didn’t give the Bulldogs much room for error. The Eagles were clicking. 

“It was a good one,” said Eagles head coach Dawn Haggart. “Meadville is a great team. But I have five seniors out there. And they’ve been playing since they were sophomores. We had so many bad injuries they they’ve gotten used to playing with each other.” 

Grove City committed its share of errors, mostly in the first and third sets. 

And it was in these sets that Meadville had its opportunities to win the game. 

For instance, in the first set the Bulldogs battled back from a 15-9 deficit to take game-point at 24-22. 

However, a kill by GC’s Mackenzie Haggart got the ball back to the Eagles. And senior Megan Jackson rotated back to the service line. This was not good news for Meadville, as Jackson was having a night, eventually finishing with eight aces. 

“She had a great game,” coach Haggart said about Jackson. “When she’s on, she’s on. She’s worked very hard on that.” 

Jackson served up three straight winners, including one ace. And the Eagles snatched the win away, 26-24. 

“Dropping that first set was a big factor,” said Schleicher. “We allowed them multiple opportunities to win that game and they eventually took it. That put us behind the 8-ball.” 

The third set was similar. Grove City had a lead at the midpoint, 16-9.

Meadville battled back by winning six straight points, thriving off the serve of Hannah Parks. 

The Bulldogs eventually pulled ahead 20-19. Then Jackson put down a spike to get the ball back, then went behind the line to serve. Would another run by the Eagles be coming?

No, actually. Jackson fired long. Meadville got the ball back and won five of the final six serves of the game to stay alive. 

Grove City wouldn’t be touched in the fourth game, however. The Eagles committed just one hitting error during the final set.

It was only slightly cleaner than the Eagles’ second set, during which they had just two hitting errors. 

“And I thought we played very good in that second game,” said Schleicher. “But Grove City just played better. They were really clean. Their ball control was really good.” 

The Eagles did a nice job of utilizing all of their hitters, too. Katie McDowell, their 6-foot-2 senior, had 12 kills and eight blocks. Jackson had 10 kills and seven blocks to go along with her eight aces. Amanda McNabb had nine kills. 

Ryan Gubba dished out 24 assists and had five blocks. Mackenzie Haggart had six assists and seven digs. Morgan Wentz led the defense with 12 digs. Logan Gubba and Carlie Reynolds both had eight digs.

For Meadville, Lucy Smith had 11 kills and seven digs. Mia Soerensen had 10 kills. Kasey Smith tallied nine kills and six digs. Alexis Holt group up 15 digs while Parks had 13. And Jillian Decker had 39 assists. 

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