Maplewood coach Sheila Bancroft and Titusville coach Debbie Carr knew at least one thing entering the District 10 Class AA girls volleyball tournament on Thursday, neither wanted to face the other in the semifinals on Saturday.

It nearly happened. Twice.

In the end, though, it was the Region 6 co-champions coming out on top of their respective pools, earning a spot in the semifinals and on opposite sides of the bracket.

Titusville will face the Lancers, who won a three-team playoff to earn the second seed out of Pool B, in the semis back at Meadville High School on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Tigers, meanwhile, will play Grove City.

“We both wanted (this),” Bancroft said. “Debbie didn’t want to see us, and we didn’t want to see them (in the semifinals). That’s probably the first time I’ve cheered for Titusville all year. Grove City played them tough, and they let one slip away. I was happy for that.

“Not to say that we’re going to get by Grove City. We still have a very tough semifinal match to play. Hopefully we get a chance to play them in the finals.”

The Eagles nearly turned the House of Thrills upside down with its match against the Rockets, who entered the tournament ranked 20th in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association and figured to be one of the favorites. Titusville had its back against the walls in the first game with Grove City needing just game-point for the win.

The defending District 10 champion Rockets, however, came rolling back, scoring the final seven points of the game to take a one-game lead. The second game was also tight with Titusville eventually pulling off a 25-20 win.

“We didn’t execute,” Carr said. “(Grove City) played very well all day long. They had very few if any errors against us. For us to come back 19-24, that’s quite a feat. We had Laura (Bromley) back there. She served tough and we made the plays.”

After making it through that one, it was Maplewood’s turn to instill a little drama on the D-10 tourney. The source: General McLane.

“General McLane didn’t have anything to lose,” Bancroft said. “They played very good ball against us. I think they set the pace of the game. They run a high pace. We don’t play well against it. That was the big key. They had eight service aces against us in two games, and that’s uncharacteristic of us.”

Both games against the Lancers went beyond 25 points. In the first game, it was Becca Beightol making a key save and Danielle Brunot following it up with a kill that gave the Tigers a 28-26 win. Maplewood won the second game, 27-25, again with the help of Brunot and a series of aces by Abby Mailliard.

Mailliard finished with five aces against the Lancers. Brunot finished with 13 kills and three blocks. The sophomore had 21 kills on the day.

“I knew our job to see each other in the finals was to beat Grove City and (Maplewood’s) job was to beat General McLane,” Carr said. “Thank God we both pulled it out. Hopefully we’ll get there.”

In other quarterfinal action, Maplewood beat Ft. LeBoeuf (25-7, 25-18) and Hickory (25-11, 25-9). Titusville beat Eisenhower (25-5, 25-7) and North East (25-15, 25-11).

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