District One Tournament Wrap: Opening Round

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Plymouth Whitemarsh and Pennsbury lived to see another day.
Six of their SOL counterparts – Council Rock South, Central Bucks East, William Tennent, Pennridge, North Penn and Central Bucks South – weren’t nearly as fortunate.
PW swept Rock South 3-0 in front of a wildly enthusiastic home crowd (25-18, 25-14, 25-19) while Pennsbury enjoyed its home court advantage in a 3-0 win over CB East (25-16, 25-11, 25-20).
North Penn fell to Villa Maria Academy in three games (15-25, 15-25, 17-25), Pennridge was swept by Mount St. Joe’s (17-25, 12-25, 20-25). St. Basil swept Central Bucks South, and Kennett defeated Tennent in three straight.
Colonials in command – Plymouth Whitemarsh looked like a team on a mission when it took the court against Council Rock South in Tuesday’s opening round. The 15th seeded Colonials served tough, played tenacious defense and used a varied offensive attack as they defeated the 18th seeded Golden Hawks with almost methodical precision.
“We always try to win in as few games as possible,” PW senior Katherine Keefer said. “Even when we’re ahead, we push as hard as possible and don’t let up.
“We came in and performed like we knew how. We played to our top level in every game.”
The Colonials just had too much firepower for the Golden Hawks, who never seemed to find their stride.
“We didn’t execute,” Rock South coach Scott Hibbs said. “We didn’t take care of the ball. We had a bunch of receiving errors, serving errors, hitting errors. It was all on us.
“I got film from Pennsbury because they played them earlier in the season. I thought we matched up well and had a great game plan as far as our blocking schemes and defensive schemes.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t execute. They didn’t do anything we weren’t prepared for. We just didn’t take care of the ball on our side.”
Kate Glover led the Hawks with six kills while Kelsey Glover had four. Chelsea Allen had three kills, two blocks and one assist.
For the Colonials, Keefer had three kills, three aces and two blocks, and Danielle DeSantis had one kill, six blocks and two aces as PW kept the Golden Hawks off stride all night with their strong serving game.
“The first ball over is the most important play,” DeSantis said. “If you have a good serve, there’s no chance of the other team coming back.”
Alex Griffin contributed three aces and two kills, and setters Sally Kijack and Jenn Bokoski handed out 19 and 12 assists respectively.
The big gun for the Colonials was once again junior Devon Maugle who finished off eight of 15 swings with kills. She also had two blocks and three aces.
“She’s awesome,” Hibbs said. “She’s a really good player. She plays for one of the most prestigious clubs, and she’s going to get a scholarship to go somewhere. She’s very, very good.”
After the Colonials earned a 25-18 win in game one, they sprinted to a 7-0 lead in game two after a Griffin service ace – her second in a six-point serving run. A Maugle kill sparked a 5-0 PW run, allowing the Colonials to open up a 15-6 lead. A block by Dana Wisniewski made it a 16-8 game, and the Golden Hawks would get no closer than eight the rest of the way.
“We have been ready for this for so long,” PW coach Michael Nguyen said of the post-season. “Even today, we came here really early. We basically did a nice walk-through practice before we played our game. That was the key.”
In game three, the Colonials went on top 6-5 after a ferocious cross-court kill by Maugle. The Golden Hawks took a 9-8 lead after back-to-back hits in the net by PW, but a Griffin kill knotted the score, and the Colonials went on to open up a 16-12 lead after a tip by Maugle fell in for a winner.
“I frown upon digs because I want my players to always swing away, but when she’s wide open - that was great,” Nguyen said.
The Colonials went on top 22-16 after a DeSantis ace, and they never looked back, winning it on a back row kill from Maugle.
“I thought it was going to be a lot harder game, but we pulled it out in three games,” DeSantis said.”Usually when we play a hard team we go to five games, but we broke our streak and won in three.”
The Colonials kept the Golden Hawks off balance with a varied offensive attack.
 “They did it all themselves,” Nguyen said. “We don’t really tell them where to go. It’s a rhythm they’ve developed playing with each other the last two and a half months. The girls make all their own decisions, and they’re making the right ones.”
Tuesday’s match was the final home game of the season for the Colonials, who treated the fans who packed the bleachers to a dominating performance. The players acknowledged the importance of their fan support.
“I love it,” Keefer said. “Our fans are great. We always have the same group of guys coming to our games yelling their hearts out. They’re very supportive, and they get us so hyped up.”
“Our fans are amazing,” DeSantis said. “They’re at every game, and they really pick us up when we’re down.”
The Golden Hawks closed out the season with an 11-7 mark.
The Colonials, meanwhile, will face a familiar foe in Thursday’s second round match when they take the court against Upper Merion. The Vikings won both regular season meetings, winning the first 3-0 and rallying for a 3-2 win after PW won the first two games in the rematch.
“They’re our nemesis,” Nguyen said. “This is the second year in a row we’ll play them in the second round. They knocked us out last year.
“I think we’re going to be ready for them.”
Pennsbury (8) 3, Central Bucks East (25) 0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-20)
The Falcons used a balanced attack to send the Patriots home for the season. Senior captain Drew Jolly had a team-high eight kills while sophomore Lauren Pisauro added seven. Senior Sydney Aizen and sophomore Audrey Stringer both contributed six kills.
Pennsbury served up 12 aces, led by Pisauro and sophomore Kelsey Moulton with three aces each. Jolly and Jen Matuza each had two aces. Hensor led the defense with 13 digs while Pisauro added six and Aizen, five.
For the Patriots, Grace Patterson had three kills and 11 digs. Setter Kelsi Hallowell had a pair of aces and eight assists. Ilana Bershtein had nine digs while Christine Gilbert led the offense with 11 kills and six digs.
Coach Eric Headley honored a bet he’d made with his players that he would color his hair pink in honor of breast cancer awareness if they won out last week and earned a berth in districts. The Patriots went out and defeated Abington, Central Bucks West and Central Bucks East.
“We were 7-7 last Sunday, and we weren’t going to get in,” Headley said. “We improved, and that’s the important part.”
 The East coach couldn’t find pink hair color, so his players had to settle for blue hair.
“It was a good season for us,” said Headley. “We had a lot of youth. We lost six seniors from last year, and we had a bunch of question marks going in.
“Just to get into districts we had to win out, and all three were five-game matches.”
The Patriots closed out the year with a 10-8 record.
Villa Maria Academy (12) 3, North Penn (21) 0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-17)
The Maidens ran into a buzz saw when they faced the perennial Catholic Academies power.
“All season we won our games by serving strong,” coach Bryan Yost said. “They were a really solid serve receiving team. We only had three aces – our lowest of the season, and it was lights outs.
“They didn’t let anything hit the ground.”
The Maidens struggled in the first two games but battled the Hurricanes to a 15-15 tie in game three before Villa closed it out with a 10-2 run.
Devon Redilla led the Maidens with 11 kills. Nicole Kratz had seven kills and nine digs while Miranda Sergas had a team high 11 digs. The Maidens closed out the year with a 12-5 record.
Mount St. Joe’s (13) 3, Pennridge (20) 0 (25-7, 25-14, 25-15)
The Mount was operating on all cylinders in Tuesday’s win over the defending Continental Conference champions.
“We started the first game down 12-0, and that set the tone,” coach Dave Childs said. “It was definitely disappointing to play the way we played tonight, but looking back, we’ll be happy with the way the regular season went.
“Winning the league and 13-3 is a very good record. They just executed tonight, and we didn’t. We didn’t play our game at all.”
The Rams, who were without setter Carly Snyder because of illness, received a solid effort from reserve Nici Bonnacci, who had 14 assists and two aces.
“She did a really good job,” Childs said.
Jen Moyer led the Rams at the net with six kills and two blocks while Brittany O’Hara had four kills and two aces. Jillian Bracken led the defense with 24 digs for the Rams, who closed out their season with a 13-4 record.