CB South & Pennridge earned wins in Tuesday’s opening round of the District One 4A Tournament.
#9 PENNRIDGE 3, #24 PERK VALLEY 1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 27-25)
The Rams made their return to the district tournament a memorable one, earning three straight wins after dropping the opening set to the visiting Vikings.
“If I’m being honest, we played really tight, which I kind expected in our first playoffs in over five years,” coach Brandon Johnson said. “They battled, and they made adjustments after game one.
“They obviously had film of us and attacked where they saw weaknesses, which we know. Luckily, our kids are very high IQ volleyball players. We have different systems that we can switch to, and we did after game one. Our defenders are just top notch, so they picked it up, and our blocks got better.
“We handled games two and three. Game four we were in control but lost our mindset a little bit. We weren’t trying to win, we were just trying to keep the ball in play. We just have to stop managing the game and just win it.”
Once again, senior setter Kara Allelunas set the one.
“She was huge,” Johnson said. “She made all the right sets. We’re trying to get her to be a little more selfish and actually be a little more offensive to keep the defenders on their heels, but she has a hard time being selfish – that’s just the kind of kid she is.
“Kara is always making the right decisions, and that’s the reason why we can’t run the 6-2 even though we have two very capable setters. I can’t take the ball out of Kara’s hands. She was all over the place, just picking digs up. We wouldn’t be where we’re at without her.”
The Rams also received important contributions from their hitters.
“Our three big guns came up again,” Johnson said. “Lydia Stutzman really kept herself under control and really dominated this match tonight. She’s a great kid. She puts everybody above herself and works her butt off. That’s all our kids, so we’re just lucky we have that.”
Johnson made an adjustment at the net that paid dividends.
“Early on, they were doubling the outside and Isabel (Cooper) on the right side, so we had to get Julia Post involved in the middle, which we did really well in games two and three,” the Rams’ coach said. “She really opened up the pins for the rest of the match. Julia was crucial for us.”
Pennridge will travel to eighth-seeded West Chester Rustin for a second round match on Thursday.
#11 CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH 3, #22 CONESTOGA 1 (25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20)
Courtney Pohl had herself a day in Tuesday’s district opener. The junior outside hitter was all but unstoppable at the net, finishing with 20 kills. Sophomore outside Millie Grove also came up huge, contributing 15 kills, two aces and five digs.
"Courtney was un-freaking-believable tonight for us,” coach Kurt Godfrey said. “I am so proud of her. She fought through all the pressure and really put us over the top tonight.
“Millie is just a natural athlete and just hangs up there in the air - she put some balls away tonight that were just incredible. Our entire bench goes crazy every time one of these girls gets a kill. I think Courtney is such a team player that she gets more excited when Allie (Burke) or Millie put a ball away. It's always great to coach a team that supports each other so much.”
Senior libero Mckenna Clow had 21 digs, two aces, two assists and 21 digs. Senior setter Lizzie Shirley had 41 assists and nine digs. Seniors Allie Burke (six kills, four blocks, four digs) and Carly Carroll (four kills, one block, one dig) also came up big in the middle.
"Tonight was such a great match,” Godfrey said. “We talk all the time about mental toughness and fighting through the mistakes, and tonight was a shining example of just that process. Conestoga is a great team and they really made us work for every single point.
"We were a little nervous to start the match. I think our seniors were so pumped up that they were trying to do more than they needed to do. We went down 12-19 in the first set and we were able to fight back into the match. We always talk about how we just need to earn one point at a time and the girls really embraced that tonight. Once we shook off the nerves, we were really solid all the way around tonight. Conestoga challenged us a lot, but we were able to make some adjustments."
Central Buck South will travel to sixth-seeded Hatboro-Horsham for Thursday’s second round match.
“While this is an awesome win for us and we want to celebrate, we turn around and play a tough Hatboro-Horsham team on Thursday night,” Godfrey said. “They were in the stands tonight so I know they will be ready for us. We'll get back to work tomorrow and we'll be ready for Thursday night.”
#10 GARNET VALLEY 3, #23 CENTRAL BUCKS EAST 0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-23)
The visiting Patriots hung tough but saw their season come to an end at the hands of the Jaguars.
“These scores to not reflect the way that my girls played tonight,” coach Kerri Rabberman said. “They left everything on the court and just kept fighting every point. They also played well.
“I am extremely proud of these girls and so sad that our season is done. This is a special group of girls and I am so grateful to be their coach. To the seniors, thank you for absolutely everything. You are all going to do amazing things and I will miss you so very much.”
Setter Anna Ritter had a double-double with 10 digs and 27 assists to go along with one ace. Morgan D’Angelo led the defense with 18 digs and also added two kills. Vivien Aggassi had eight kills and 10 digs while Ava Napoletano had seven kills and one dig and Aimee Wolf added seven kills and two blocks. Abby Killough contributed seven digs while Chloe Mettille had eight digs and one ace. Also contributing were Maddy Lacouture (four kills), Caroline Eldringhoff (three kills, one block) and Kaylynn Bryan (two digs).
Central Bucks East (10-8 SOL) closed out its season with a 12-11 record.
#14 METHACTON 3, #19 UPPER DUBLIN 1
#15 DOWNINGTOWN WEST 3, #18 CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 0
#16 STRATH HAVEN 3, #17 PLYOUTH WHITEMARSH 0