Bald Eagle Area girl’s volleyball coach Larry Campbell had one message for his team Thursday night — don’t beat yourself.
Taking on Penns Valley, the Eagles looked sharp and in control all night, winning the match in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-16, 25-12.
“We’ve struggled with unforced errors but tonight we did a better job of controlling the ball and our ball control was more solid,” Campbell said afterwards. “Our ball handlers did a good job moving their feet and passing the ball inside the frame.”
The key difference between the two teams was not just the Eagles' ball control, but also their ability to go on long scoring runs.
Although the Rams played tough throughout the match, they were never able to sustain any momentum, allowing scoring runs of 14 points in the first set and seven in the second.
“In volleyball if you make a run of more than four points that’s a really impressive run,” Campbell said. “Anything more than that is gravy. Our ability to do that is good we just need to cut down on overall errors.”
The match didn’t seem headed for a rout early in the first set. The Rams scored the first point and had the score knotted at 10-10 before the Eagles went on a scorching 14-0 run for a commanding 24-10 lead.
Although the Rams would rally with three consecutive points, the Eagles ended any thoughts of a comeback when Tylor Yarrison finished a kill off of an assist by Jessica Bressler to win the set 25-13.
The second set produced much of the same results. Once again, the teams looked even early on, and once again Bald Eagle pulled away as the set progressed.
Holding on to a 14-12, the Eagles responded with seven consecutive points for a 21-12 advantage. After the Rams rallied to make it 24-16, sophomore Velanna Skripek finished the set off with a well placed kill.
“I think I’ve improved more at working around the ball and getting more kills,” Skripek said. “We had some pretty good serves and we were able to keep (our momentum) up.”
The third set provided a bit of a change, as the Eagles opened up with an 8-1 run that eventually swelled to 19-6. One more run by the Rams wasn’t enough to prevent a 25-12 Eagles win that completed the sweep.
On the night, Skripek led BEA with 11 kills while Yarrison added nine.
Seniors Jenny Zimmerman and Chelsea Eisenhuth were both solid in the middle, registering three and two blocks, respectively. Sophomore Regan Dyke led the team in digs with 15.
For Penns Valley, Kayla Bracken led the team with six kills, while Peyton Homan had three blocks and Julia Kocher led with 14 digs.
As impressed as he was by his team’s performance, Campbell knows there is plenty of room for improvement.
“We’re not finished at all in anything,” Campbell said. “We still have a lot of opportunities and we’re starting to play a little better.
“Nobody played poorly tonight. I wouldn’t say we played great but overall we were effective.”
Bald Eagle Area plays next on Tuesday at Tyrone, while Penns Valley will participate in the West Branch Volleyball Tournament on Saturday.