Paul VI bounces back to rally past Washington Township
Sept. 17, 2019
Washington Township High School girls volleyball coach Jeff Hood had only high praise for his squad after its 2-1 (13-25, 25-6, 25-16) loss on Monday to Paul VI in an Olympic Conference matchup.
He watched as the Minutemaids (0-5) forced three sets against the undefeated Eagles and kept the outcome of the match undecided until midway through the final set.
“I was really proud of the way we played,” Hood said. “This was a really talented team, but we were scraping and we were fighting out there. I really think good days are ahead for us for sure.
“We are not getting the results we want at the moment, but I think that is right around the corner whenever the girls play this well.”
After the teams traded lopsided victories in the first two sets, the final one provided all the drama. Neither side was able to build momentum or extend their lead by more than two points as sideouts dominated play.
With the score knotted at 12-all, the Eagles reeled off seven straight points to pull away for good and escape with the win.
“Anytime you put yourself in a volleyball set like this, anything can happen,” Hood said. “You just have to match the energy of the team on the other side of the net, and I think we did that today. Paul VI just made a few more plays than our girls did. For a volleyball fan, this was a great match to watch.”
The match could not have gotten off to a better start for the ’Maids. With Allison Dilks serving, they scored the first 11 points to grab a commanding lead.
Following a timeout, the Eagles found their groove and got within 18-10, but the ’Maids kept them at bay and captured the set, 25-13.
However, the Eagles flipped the table in the second set. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead and later went on a 9-0 run to go up 14-2.
“I think we just got overconfident in the second set and started to make simple mistakes,” senior Jenna Ficcaglia said. “I think that set us back a bit. However, come the third set, we fought back and didn’t want to go without a fight.”
In the first set, Township kept the Eagles off their game with excellent passing and either kills or shallow tips at the net. The Eagles took advantage of their height in the second set, plus some solid serving, with a series of blocks and dominant play at the net against the smaller ‘Maids.
While the ‘’Maids found their composure at the start of the third set, it wasn’t enough to slow down the Eagles.
“(Paul VI) definitely started to pass, read the game and block a little bit better in the second and third sets than they did in the first set,” Hood said. “In a game that close, that often can mean the difference.”
Regardless, it was a match the ’Maids know they can build off of for the future.
“It was a tough game, but we fought and tried our best,” Ficcaglia said. “There is no reason to hang our heads.”
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