Bald Eagle Area had only dropped eight sets all season, so losing doesn’t happen very often.
During Saturday’s District 6 Class 2A championship game, the Lady Eagles (19-0) picked up their ninth set loss, but overcame it to claim the crown over West Shamokin, 3-1. BEA won 25-17, 29-27, 16-25, 25-17.
The Lady Eagles will now take on Freeport in the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday.
“Set 2, we squeaked one out — that was a big difference in the game,” BEA coach Larry Campbell said. “We didn’t play well in Set 2 or 3. It was ugly. We stopped passing the ball offensively. We got passive. It was a little disappointing to see.”
Campbell’s squad came out in the first set looking like the No. 1 seed. Grace Hugar collected five of her team-high 20 kills and added two aces as the Lady Eagles used a trio of runs to claim a game-opening 25-17 win.
The second set was much more of a dogfight. It took nearly 30 minutes to complete and, according to Campbell, acted as the turning point.
The Lady Wolves led by as many as five points early into the set. They held a 10-5 lead when BEA made a run to get within one, forcing opposing coach Malinda Oesterling to call a timeout.
Shortly after the timeout, the Lady Eagles’ Jordan Anderson tipped a shot over two West Shamokin blockers — and it fell for the tying point. From there, the game went back and forth, with Campbell then calling a timeout after two consecutive points put West Shamokin ahead 21-19. He didn’t want the set to slip away.
“We talked about that in the timeout,” he said. “We said, ‘Hey, if we can grind this out, we are stealing one because we didn’t play well.’”
His BEA team responded by tying the set up again at 23-23 thanks to a big dig from Lexi Skripek that kept a rally alive. Even with another play stoppage — Oesterling called another timeout — the Lady Eagles kept it rolling. With it later tied 27-27, BEA put it away with an Elita Brown kill followed by an Anderson block.
“It was the best feeling ever,” Anderson said of the 29-27 win in the second set. “I love getting a block to end a point because everyone gets so excited. It was really important. I think we needed it to bring a lot of energy into the next set.”
Added Campbell: “You come out of that 2-0, you’re like, ‘We got room, we are good.’ You come out of it 1-1, it is a whole different ball game.”
BEA came out flat after so much energy was spent on that second set. They lost the third, but rebounded to claim the fourth with a 25-17 victory.
That gave the perfect Lady Eagles the 3-1 victory, a district championship, a trip to states — and a whole lot of confidence.
“I know that if we are ever behind, I know we can come from behind and get the win,” Campbell added.