Each and every match the Saegertown boys volleyball team unveils yet another strength in its bid for the Region 1 championship and its second straight District 10 title.

On Tuesday, that strength was blocking. And the victim? The tallest team in District 10, Meadville.

Kyle Beatty, Patrick Amy, Zach Beatty, Ben Wetsell and Cody Handel combined for 21 blocks, including a team-high six each from Kyle Beatty and Amy to lead Saegertown to a 25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 25-15 win over the Bulldogs.

Saegertown, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AA by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, improved to 3-0 overall and in Region 1 with the win. Meadville fell to 1-1 overall and in the region.

“I thought the difference in our play (last night) was we blocked extremely well,” Saegertown coach Justin Johnson said. “That is the best we’ve blocked all year. We came up big on blocks when we needed to and that was nice to see.”

Saegertown’s biggest blocks may have come in Game 1, which the Panthers failed to lead until the final two serves. It was a block by Kyle Beatty that gave the Panthers even a taste of the lead, tying the score at 21-21.

Meadville answered with a kill by Brian Zurney, his sixth of the game, to take a 22-21 lead. Successive tips by Zach Beatty and Wetsell, however, gave the Panthers their first lead at 23-22. Kyle Beatty extended the lead to two with an ace and Amy finished it off with a stuffed block to give Saegertown a 25-22 win in Game 1.

Saegertown was able to ride that momentum into Game 2 and led by as many as 10 four times. The Panthers’ last 10-point lead (21-11), though, was followed by an 12-3 run by MASH that brought the Bulldogs to within just one at 24-23.

Wetsell closed the deal for Saegertown with a kill.

Meadville finally broke through in the third game to give the Panthers their first loss of the dual match season with a 25-22 win. But they couldn’t hold on with Saegertown breezing to a 25-15 win in the fourth game, thanks to a series of big blocks, to seal the match.

“The fourth game, I think we exerted so much energy there in that third game that the legs got a little juicy,” MASH coach Doug Nelson said. “(Saegertown) went back to their big guns and we couldn’t stop them.”

“I thought we played well (last night). I really did,” Nelson added. “We got into a bang with them. They have a couple real good legitmate hitters out there and we have to find a way to stop them.”

For the Panthers, it was a reminder that even as the No. 1 ranked team in the state they have to continue to play hard each and every match.

“It feels really good to be on top,” Saegertown setter Kevin Schmalzried said. “But being on top also means you have a big fall. And I think, especially (last night), we saw we may be No. 1 but it’s really a tight race. So we’re not No. 1 by a long shot. We just have to maintain what we’ve got and come out fired up for every game.”

Kyle Beatty led Saegertown with 18 kills. Wetsell added 17 kills and nine digs. Zach Beatty had eight kills; Josh Peters had eight digs; and Handel had seven digs. Schmalzried finished with 28 assists.

Brian and Adam Zurney and Ben Wolff had 10 kills each for Meadville. Wolff also added four stuff blocks. Adam Barba had six kills.

Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370, ext. 277 or by e-mail at lbyers@meadvilletribune.com.

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