District 1 4A semifinal
#3 GARNET VALLEY 3, #2 PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 0 (25-18-, 25-14, 25-21)
The Colonials ran into a buzzsaw.
The Jaguars – it turns out – could pretty much handle everything the Colonials threw their way and then some.
“It was rough,” coach Dave Stewart said. “The kids did a very nice job. It’s just that (Garnet Valley) is at a different level in some ways than we are. Their experience at this level – they’re typically in the top four or five teams in the district on a fairly regular basis, so they’re used to this kind play.
“Actually, we got off to a pretty good start, and they started to work their way back in – stretching points. It was just one of those things where our kids had to realize they could play with them.
“The one thing we talk about all season long is confidence, playing with confidence. That team walked in the door, and they played with confidence. We made our best attempt to play with confidence, and we did well, but obviously, just not enough to overcome this team today.”
The Colonials didn’t go down without a battle. They played the Jaguars close early in the second set, and they hung with the Jaguars in the final set.
“In the second set, they had a couple of good service runs,” Stewart said. “25-21 – I’ll take that all day long. I was really proud of our kids for stepping up and giving them a run for their money.
“We are proud of the girls. They definitely did a way better job and, from an overall standpoint, played significantly better than we did on Saturday, so I was definitely happy with that. It’s just one of those things. We ran into a team that is definitely better than we are at this point.
“When you’re in that situation, you need everything to go right for you – some things did, and we definitely were able to do some of the things we had planned. The defense that this team plays is at a whole different level than Downingtown West, and Downingtown West was super tenacious. These guys ran balls down that were off the court that any other team we faced it would have definitely been out of play.
“They just somehow put a hand on it, got it back somewhere in play, somebody would bring it back over. It was crazy. Even when they make a mistake, they’re able to overcome the mistake. Sometimes we would make a mistake, and occasionally, we would overcome it, but a lot of times we wouldn’t. We’d mis-pass a ball, and then we wouldn’t be able to bring it back. They’d mis-pass a ball, and they’d just calmly play it back into play.”
Plymouth Whitemarsh (21-1, 12-0 SOL) will host #5 Lower Merion in Thursday’s playback game. The Aces fell to top-seeded Unionville 3-0.
“I was just talking to my assistant coach, and the conversation we had was – ‘Look, both teams coming into Thursday night have a loss from Tuesday,’” Stewart said. “The question is going to be – which team bounces back quicker and has the confidence to win and finish off a match so that we have a shot at travelling up to District 2 or District 4 on Tuesday. That’s what we want to do. We’ll give it our best shot.”