Maplewood had a bitter taste in its mouth ever since losing to Titusville last year in the District 10 Class AA semifinals. Well, it’s finally gone.

The Tigers handed Titusville just its second loss of the year Saturday. They beat the Rockets, 25-18, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18, to earn their record 11th District 10 Class AA championship in program history.

“We have wanted this ever since they knocked us out in the semifinals last year,” Wood senior outside hitter Heidi Young said. “I can’t even explain how I feel right now.”

With the win, the Tigers advance to regionals where they will face WPIAL fourth seed Seton-LaSalle at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Penn State Behrend’s Junker Center.

Titusville also advances despite the loss. It will play WPIAL champ Hopewell, ranked fifth in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

“We really wanted this so bad,” Wood sophomore middle hitter Anna McCurdy said. “It was just so awesome to get that for the seniors. They deserve it. I think we all deserve it.”

Even Titusville coach Debbie Carr agrees.

“Maplewood deserved to win,” she said following the game. “They made the plays. I told the girls, ‘It sucks to lose this, but they deserved to win.’”

The Tigers came out firing from the get-go, trailing just twice in the first game, both of which came during the first four rotations of the game.

The Rockets managed to even the score in the second game, though, with middle hitter Stef Lorey dominating at the net. The senior had eight kills in the game, four of which scored four of the last six points.

Maplewood shut the attack down in the third game and rallied from a 6-1 deficit in the fourth game, however, to win the title.

“We knew we were going to come in here and play tough,” McCurdy said. “No matter how many games it went, we had to just play hard and never give up. That’s what we did. We came out and won. We’re D-10 champs!”

The win was Maplewood’s second against the Rockets this season — not including tournament play. Last year, Titusville was 3-0 against the Tigers.

It also gave Wood coach Sheila Bancroft title No. 9 in her 18-year tenure.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” Bancroft said. “That’s a key. I thought the last week-and-a-half our practices have been unbelievable. We’ve just been playing so well together.”

That’s been the key: Together.

Every player had an impact for the Tigers against Titusville. Leading the way on attack was Angela Groshner with 17 kills. She added 15 points and 19 digs. McCurdy finished with 10 points, 10 kills and five stuff blocks. Danielle Brunot had 13 kills and seven stuffs.

Amanda Bancroft had seven points and 51 assists. Megan Groshner added 19 digs.

“It helped that all 12 of us wanted it equally,” Young said. “It wasn’t like we had a dead egg who didn’t want to be here. We all wanted it more than anything in the world.”

And, they got it.

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