CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — The Cambridge Springs Classic usually gives teams in District 10 a chance to separate themselves before heading into dual play. But that certainly wasn’t the case on Saturday.

Teams further complicated what appears to be a classic season in the making yesterday with all but one of the eight District 10 squads advancing to the playoffs at the 27th annual Cambridge Springs Classic.

Conneaut Valley took a slight advantage, falling to State College, 25-18, 25-16, in the championship final. But that didn’t erase the outstanding play of its adversaries McDowell, Cambridge Springs, Saegertown, Meadville and Maplewood.

“The region is going to be very interesting this year,” Spa coach Rick Welker said. “I don’t think there’s ever been as much parity as there is going to be this year. Any given night, I think anybody is capable of knocking somebody off.”

It already happened at the Classic — and several times at that, particularly during pool play. For instance, Maplewood, figured to be one of the top contenders this season with an experience-laden team, opened pool play with four straight wins. The streak, though, was snapped with a 25-21 loss to Conneaut Valley, who wound up losing the second game by 17 points (25-8).

The Indians then turned around for a split with Saegertown, which was swept by the Tigers to start the tourney.

“You can’t predict anything around here,” said McDowell coach Dean Platz, whose team won the D-10 title a year ago and was a member of the state’s Final Four. “Everything is so even. One team has a good game; one team has a bad game. You just never know.”

The shockers continued in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs with Saegertown, the third-place team out of the Red Pool, knocking off previously unbeaten Cambridge Springs, 25-20. The Panthers day, however, came to an end in the next round with a 25-21 to Conneaut Valley, who had reached the semis with a thrilling 25-24 win over an impressive Meadville squad.

As good as District 10 proved to be throughout the day, though, it wasn’t enough to overcome a very talented State College team. The Little Lions, ranked sixth in the state in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s Preseason Top 20 Poll, downed Valley, 25-18, 25-16 for the tourney title. It was SC’s second title in as many appearances.

“I was happy with how we progressed throughout the day, especially after we got into the playoffs,” Valley coach John Chapman said. “They picked up their defense and that’s what really made the difference. We just fell a little short in the end.”

State College missed last year’s tournament — won by Meadville — due to a scheduling conflict.

“We look forward to coming here,” said State College coach Kim-Li Kimel. “We’re pretty much guaranteed to see some really solid teams.

“It’s a good measuring stick for me. It allows me to adjust my lineups a little bit and do all the little tinkering things before starting the dual match season.”

For District 10 teams, the tournament still leaves a lot of question marks. Perhaps it will get clearer on Tuesday with the start of the dual match season. Or not.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting season overall,” Wood coach Sheila Bancroft said. “There are a lot of good teams. As you saw there in the playoffs, there were a lot of upsets there in the end. I wouldn’t take a team lightly around here.

“It’s going to keep you on your toes and keep you working all season long.”



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

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