Upper Merion edged Hatboro-Horsham in a key SOL volleyball match. Check out Thursday’s results.
UPPER MERION 3, HATBORO-HORSHAM 2 (21-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 15-7)
Melanie Ingram and Casey Griffith had monster performances for the Vikings, and it was their contributions down the stretch that propelled the Vikings to the hard-fought win in a battle of the American Conference powers.
“It certainly wasn’t easy,” coach Tony Funsten said. “It was back and forth. We had our backs against the wall.
“We down 2-1, and it was 15-15 in the fourth game, and we had just given up a little bit of a lead. We kept our poise and Melanie Ingram and Casey Griffith just carried us from there. I have to give (setter) Natalie O’Neil credit because she got them the ball, but from 15 on, those two were just tremendous. They made tremendous plays. They made plays stars make, and it was just awesome.”
Ingram finished the night with 26 kills – five in the fifth set – and 34 digs. Griffith had 16 kills and 28 digs. O’Neil had 35 assists.
“Between Mel and Casey, they made some of the more incredible plays you would want to see in game five,” Funsten said. “
Making the contributions of Ingram and Griffith even more significant was the fact that the Vikings were without Emily Shannon (slight concussion).
“We’re not that deep this year,” Funsten said. “Emily Shannon has been playing great. She had 12 kills against Garnet Valley and eight kills against Villa Maria, so she’s been picking up the pace.”
Filling in for Shannon were a pair of jayvee players. One of those – sophomore Julia Reinert – had a pair of big kills in game four.
“They did fine under the circumstances,” Funsten said. “What really won it for us was the defense of Mel and Casey in the fourth game. After we had the lead and gave it up, we were a little shaky, but they took it upon themselves to pass everything from there on out, and then we started to get a better rhythm.
“That carried over into the fifth game and gave us a little confidence. Up until then, we really hadn’t controlled the game.”
Senior Lauren Laucella (18 kills) and Sam Jones (17 kills) led the Hatters at the net. Quinn O’Donnell added nine kills and Laura Calvin, five kills. Laucella dominated play at the net with seven blocks. Candyce Riley led the Hatters defensively with 34 digs. Caitlin Klotzbach and Laucella also added 17 digs each. Hannah Steiger dished out 28 assists and Jones added 11.
“One of the things Hatboro has done is Laucella gets a lot of back row swings,” Funsten said. “She puts pressure on you. If your back row players are not paying closing attention, she gives you some tough balls to pass, and Mel and Casey both were passing them like they were free balls, and they were not easy to pass.
“When the younger players were in there, the ball went all over the place. They really did do a good job of controlling some very difficult balls and making it look easy.”
Griffith passed 33 balls and had only one passing error while Ingram was perfect on 21 passes.
“Both Casey and Mel were phenomenal,” Funsten said. “Obviously, they carried us – they carried us defensively, they carried us passing serve, and they carried us killing, but that’s what we expect of them, and it’s certainly what they expect of themselves.
"You do what you have to do, and the players that stepped in did fine. When Emily comes back, we'll be happy, but the kids are getting an opportunity now, and in the long run, it makes us a better team and a better program."
While the Hatters fell to 6-2 in league play, the Vikings increased their stronghold on the conference’s top spot, improving to 8-0.
NESHAMINY 3, HARRY S TRUMAN 0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-17)
Julia Staub had 30 assists, 10 digs and four aces in a solid all-around performance. Jen Harasim had 18 kills and 16 digs while Morgan Oberholtzer had 15 digs, six kills and four aces. Kirsten Brosos collected 13 digs and added three aces. Junior Danielle Catapano added nine digs and six kills.
“The girls played solid defense,” coach Kate Livingstone said. “All four seniors are playing the best in their careers.”
NORTH PENN 3, SOUDERTON 0 (25-12, 25-9, 25-20)
Isabelle Kerr led the Maidens strong serving game with seven aces to go along with five kills. Stephanie Elechko had four aces and 15 kills. Devon Markus had five kills and two blocks, and Courtney Gill added five kills and five digs.
PLYMOUTH WHITEMARSH 3, WISSAHICKON 0 (26-24, 25-11, 25-14)
The Trojans, according to PW coach Michael Nguyen, led the entire way in the first set, but the Colonials rallied to win the game.
“The first set had PW hitting a lot of balls out of bounds, but the Lady Colonials eventually found their range as the service aces and hitter kills started to pile up in the second and third sets,” Nguyen said.
Emily Houck (six kills), Houck (five kills) and Michele Taunton (five kills) led PW at the net. Tori Biggins served for seven aces to lead PW. Ryan Manigley-Haney led the Colonials with eight digs while Houck had four.
Wissahickon coach Mary Copelli credited her team’s performance.
“The girls passed really well as PW had extremely tough serves,” the Trojans’ coach said.
ABINGTON 3, NORRISTOWN 0
The Ghosts used a strong serving game to keep the Eagles out of system most of the match. Liz Gassman and Regina Seweryn turned in dominant performances at the net. Seweryn led the team with 15 kills and two blocks. Gassman had 14 kills and five digs. Setters Emma Garg and Lizzie Lloyd tallied 30 assists.
CENTRAL BUCKS WEST 3, QUAKERTOWN 0 (25-4, 25-12, 25-19)
Alicia West (10 kills, 4 digs, 1 ace) and Rachel Baker (7 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs) led the Bucks. Courtney King (5 kills, 4 aces, 5 digs), Maddie Klun (5 kills, 4 aces, 1 dig), Jess West (20 assists) and Rachel Farnin (5 digs) also made important contributions.
CENTRAL BUCKS EAST 3, PENNRIDGE 0 (27-25, 27-25, 25-23)
The Patriots won a tightly contested match against the Rams. Leading the Patriots were Courtney Kauffman (10 kills), Hannah Lunak (8 kills), Rachel Clow (7 kills, 12 digs) and Lindsay McIntosh (6 kills). Also making significant contributions were Victoria Spadafora (4 kills, 8 digs), Erin Lane (15 digs), Haley Echelmeier (11 digs) and Caroline Davis (34 assists, 6 aces, 10 digs).
CHELTENHAM 3, UPPER DUBLIN (25-19, 25-12, 25-20)