When Hannah Park stepped behind the service line, she knew what she had to do — and what not to do.
The Bald Eagle Area girls’ volleyball team was clinging to a one-point lead in the fourth set, but some strong serving from the senior right-side hitter could help lock up a big win over rival Philipsburg-Osceola on Tuesday night.
“I was nervous because I had already missed, like, two serves before that,” Park said. “I just told myself to get the first ball in. That was most important.”
She did — for an ace. It gave the Lady Eagles match point.
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A long rally ensued on the next point before a Lady Mountie tapped the ball just inches wide to end the match, giving BEA a 25-21, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22 victory over P-O.
“It feels amazing,” Park said. “It felt just as good as it did last year when we beat them when they were undefeated.”
The Lady Mounties (15-6, 9-2) were not undefeated this time, but had taken the first meeting between the programs last month and they were looking down on the Lady Eagles (9-4, 7-3) in the Mountain League standings.
BEA got 11 kills apiece from Park and Tylor Yarrison and 10 from Vee Skripek, six kills and six blocks from Chelsea Eisenhuth, two blocks and two aces from Jenny Zimmerman and 28 digs from Regan Dyke. Jessica Bressler directed the offense with 38 assists to go with 20 digs and two blocks.
P-O was paced by Cheyenne Bone’s 11 kills and two blocks, Sadie Granville’s nine kills, Mollie Maguire’s two aces and two blocks and McKenzie Burge’s 26 assists. Libero Elizabeth Robertson had her second big night in the back row in as many days, posting 32 digs. She had 37 on Monday against Central Mountain.
“It comes down to execution,” coach Dave Eckberg said. “Credit to Bald Eagle — they just had a little more than we did.”
Up two sets to one and 18-11 in the fourth, it looked like a win was all but assured for the Lady Eagles.
But a couple key swings from Bone, and a few BEA errors, assisted in a rally, and P-O had the frame knotted at 21-21 after a Robertson ace.
“From 18-11 to 21-all?” Lady Eagles coach Larry Campbell joked. “Oh yeah, we were calm.”
That’s when it was time for Park to really leave her mark.
A kill from the senior ended the run, and following an Eagle error another Park kill put the score at 23-22 and sent her back to the service line.
“She had a big night,” Campbell said. “Her hitting made a difference.”
She delivered the winner to give her team match point, and it calmed those butterflies after her two earlier misses.
“It was the best feeling ever,” Park said. “It really was a confidence booster. It really was.”
BEA got some timely contributions from a variety of places.
Both Eisenhuth and Zimmerman left their mark at middle hiter, with Eisenhuth especially able to use her 6-foot frame over the much smaller P-O lineup.
“Our middles were very effective tonight,” Campbell said. “That’s the most offensive-minded they’ve been all (season). We just set it to them, they didn’t rip it, they just tapped it over the top of the block because they were so small.”
BEA also was quite productive from the service line from more than just Park. There were a handful of aces, but just nine errors and the Lady Eagles picked the right spots most of the night to limit the P-O offense. Caylee McCaslin and Dyke each had some major runs from the line to help the winning cause.
“We kind of returned the favor in terms of unforced errors,” Eckberg said. “We gave them a lot of points out there. That’s young kids. We have some young hitters out there.”