Once again, the Mountain League volleyball road runs through Philipsburg.
With a fast start, and key runs at the right moments, Philipsburg-Osceola swept past Bald Eagle Area to take control of the league lead.
“We still have some work to do,” Lady Mounties coach Dave Eckberg said after his team’s 25-15, 25-20, 25-20 victory for a two-game league lead with four matches to play and avenging the team’s only loss of the season last month at BEA.
“We were steady,” Eckberg added. “We did a pretty good job of passing from the back, we made fewer service errors than when we played there.”
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P-O (19-3, 9-1 Mountain League) was stoked by a packed and loud gymnasium, which may have rattled the Lady Eagles (8-5, 7-3) a little as the Lady Mounties leaped to a 17-4 lead in the opening set.
“There were very few seats available, and that was pretty cool,” BEA coach Larry Campbell said. “The place was rocking, and they were passing and banging the ball around the gym.”
“Our crowd was amazing,” Eckberg said. “It was a great volleyball environment.”
BEA rallied to make the first set respectable, but a couple of lulls also proved costly in the second and third sets.
The second frame was knotted at 16-16 before a P-O service run took the lead to 20-16, and another four-point run helped the Lady Mounties pull away after a 17-17 deadlock in the third.
“That was the difference in the game — they were able to score in bunches,” Campbell said. “We handled pretty good when we settled down, but to be in an atmosphere like that, some kids struggled.”
A deep and experienced Lady Mounties team had the edge in those key late points of the rivalry.
“Their game kept getting better throughout the night,” Eckberg said. “They could have folded, but they fought back hard.”
The P-O offense was paced by Abby Showers’ 14 kils and Kylie Scovern’s eight. Elizabeth Robertson led the defense with 11 digs, and McKenzie Burge racked up 24 assists and four aces.
BEA got 12 kills and six digs from Nicole Doroschenko, six kills and two blocks for Chelsea Eisenhuth, 22 assists for Jessica Bressler, nine digs for Regan Dyke and seven digs for Tylor Yarrison.
“It was a good quality win against a good quality opponent,” Eckberg said. “It was special for the girls to have a match like this.”