RICHLAND Westmont Hilltop has exceeded expectations during the postseason, at least as far as the district seeding goes.
A night after the Hilltoppers topped No. 6 Penn Cambria, they beat No. 3 Bald Eagle Area 17-25, 27-25, 25-15, 26-24 on Tuesday night in the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals at Richland High School.
“It was very exciting for us to knock off the No. 3 seed,” Westmont coach Denise Nairn said. “We thought we were even with them because we saw them play at St. Francis and thought that they were definitely beatable.”
Nairn felt that the Hilltoppers (11-10) got off to a slow start because they weren't able to practice due to playing on back-to-back nights, but once they got going, Bald Eagle Area (13-6) couldn't stop them.
The turning point came in Game 2, as Westmont rallied from game point.
“Maybe one of our worst efforts of the year,” BEA coach Larry Campbell said. “First set, we played really sloppy and we won. Second set, we played really sloppy. At 24-23, we make a good move and the referee calls a carry — let four of them go earlier. Point was it would have been 25-23 and up 2-0, we’re sailing on.”
Instead, Westmont reeled off four consecutive points to win the game and steal the momentum.
“Every time that we were down today we pushed through it,” Nairn said. “I applaud my girls for always sticking with it and never getting down throughout the whole match.”
Westmont kept the pressure on in Game 3 and rolled to a 10-point victory. Then, in Game 4, the Hilltoppers were down 24-23 when they won a very long point to stay alive. Three consecutive service points by Alyssa Miller resulted in a 26-24 victory and a spot in the district semifinals for the No. 11 seed.
“I think my servers did an excellent job today,” Nairn said. “They were in crucial situations, for game point for the other sides how many times tonight? And they continued to get their serves in. So serving was big for us this evening.”
Sarah Fisher had 15 kills and three blocks for Westmont while Miller added 10 digs. Setter Lauren Moran had 23 assists.
“Give Westmont credit,” Campbell said. “They came in as the bottom seed in this tournament and beat the No. 6 seed and now the No. 3 seed.”
The Lady Eagles (13-6) were led by Nicole Doroschenko’s 20 kills and 14 digs, while Tylor Yarrison added six kills and four aces, Jessica Bressler had 31 assists and four aces and Regan Dyke posted 14 digs.
In the night’s other match, No. 2 Richland dropped Forest Hills 25-22, 25-13, 26-24 and will meet Westmont Hilltop in Thursday’s semifinals.