The fairytale season came to end on Tuesday night for the Philipsburg-Osceola volleyball team, as the Lady Mounties fell 25-18, 25-19, 25-17 to Indiana in first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs at Central Cambria High School.
“It’s has been such a great season,” said Lady Mounties head coach Dave Eckberg. “Only one team in the state is going to walk away happy. What I was so proud of tonight was there were times they got down, but they didn’t give up.
“If we would’ve said at the beginning of the season that we were going to play in the state tournament against a great opponent and play point-for-point all night, mixed in with a district championship, I think we would’ve been all in.”
Indiana made its presence known early, short-setting its tallest hitters for kills in the first set. Facing a taller team, the Lady Mounties still hung tough. Philipsburg-Osceola was just unable to make key plays when it needed it to extend runs. The Lady Mounties had seven service errors on the night and several hitting errors.
P-O had seen the Lady Indians at a preseason team camp.
“They did some things we don’t see to much of in our league,” said Eckberg. “Most of what we were able to do to prepare for that happened at the start of the season at Indiana’s team camp. Our goal was to go out and be a better team than when we saw them in August. And clearly that was the case tonight. I think we got a little tense at moments and made some mistakes we haven’t made in a while.
“But I don’t want anything to take away from what the girls have accomplished, because they have done so much. I’m so proud of them.”
Trailing, 2-0, P-O dug out several balls and put down several hard hits in the third set, but Indiana’s front row proved to be too much.
Aaryn Gray led Indiana with seven kills, while Jill Bender added five and Natalie Cignetti had four.
Marlee Chutko led the Lady Mounties with eight kills, while Kylie Scovern and Abby Showers each had six. Emily Bush-Clark added three.
Bush-Clark had a team-high eight service points, while Showers had six service points. McKenzie Burge had five service points and notched 21 assists in the game.
“Once they reflect on everything they have accomplished, I really think they are going to look back on this as such a great experience,” said Eckberg, whose team finished 30-6.
Indiana (20-1) will face Conneaut Area, which swept Knoch, on Saturday night at a site and time to be determined.