CLARION - The St. Marys Area Lady Dutch volleyball team competed in the District 9-AA volleyball championships at Clarion Area High School on Saturday.
The Lady Dutch finished tied for first place with a 2-1 record after pool play along with Bradford and Punxsutawney, necessitating a three-team playoff to decide the District 9-AA champ.
Prior to the special playoff, the three teams involved were reseeded according to their record on the day, excluding the matches played against Karns City. Karns City finished pool play with an 0-3 record. Punxsutawney was the top seed with a 3-2 record, while Bradford was second at 2-2 and St. Marys third with a 2-3 record. As a result, St. Marys and Bradford met in a one-game playoff to determine who would play Punxsutawney for the title in a one-game playoff.
Bradford opened a 3-1 lead and gradually increased their lead to 10-4. With Taylor Bellina serving, Bradford hit the ball out of bounds, 10-5. An ace made it 10-6, with Bradford getting the serve back at 11-6. A dig by Chelsea Gregori made the score 11-7. With Chelsie Gaton serving, Taylor Schutz got a block with the next point going to Bradford, 12-8. A kill by Bellina gave the Lady Dutch the serve back trailing 19-13. With Lauren Dalessandro serving, Bradford was called for a double hit and then four hits on the next serve, 19-15. The Lady Owls would go on to win by a 25-19 margin.
Bradford defeated Punxsutawney by a 25-14 score to win the District 9 championship.
In the first match of round robin play, Punxsutawney downed Karns City in two, 25-22 and 29-27.
In the second match, Bradford defeated St. Marys 25-19 and 25-20.
The third match of the day found the Lady Dutch defeating the Lady Chucks 2-1. Punxsutawney won the first set 25-23. The Lady Dutch came back to win the second set 29-27. St. Marys won the third set 25-19 to win two games to one.
Bradford downed Karns City 25-17 and 25-11 in the fourth match of the day.
Next up was St. Marys against Karns City. St. Marys took a 6-0 lead on the serving of Sami Hanes. Schutz and Kiana Hoohuli recorded a block, with Abbey Cribbs getting a kill. Hanes also had two aces. The Lady Gremlins came back to cut the St. Marys lead to 9-8. A kill by Gaton gave the serve back to the Lady Dutch. With Bellina serving St. Marys increased their lead to 13-8 as Bellina recorded an ace and Gaton got a kill. With St. Marys leading 14-10 and Gaton serving, the Lady Dutch went up 14-11. A kill by Schutz made it 15-11. St. Marys added another point before being called on the net, 16-12. St. Marys got the serve back leading 18-15. With Schutz serving, Gaton got a kill before Karns City hit the ball out of bounds. Two aces by Schutz made it 22-15. A kill by Gaton gave St. Marys the 23-16 lead and the serve. With Dalessandro serving, Bellina recorded a kill 24-16. Karns City made it 24-19. A kill by Gaton gave St. Marys the 25-19 victory.
In their second set, the Lady Dutch took the 5-0 lead on Hanes’ serve. Schutz recorded a kill, with Karns City being called on the net and for a carry. The Lady Gremlins made it 5-1, with St. Marys getting the serve back at 6-1. With Cribbs serving, she recorded two aces and Bellina recorded two kills, making it 10-1. St. Marys would open a 13-4 lead. With Dalessandro serving, Gaton and Hanes each recorded kills and Karns City hit it out of bounds, 16-4. The Lady Dutch got the serve back leading 17-5 and with Bellina serving. Karns City was called on the net, with Bellina recording an ace. Another net call on the Lady Gremlins was followed by another Bellina ace, 21-5. The Lady Dutch would go on to win by a 25-9 score.
The sixth match of pool play found the Lady Chucks defeating the Lady Owls in two, 25-23, 25-23, forcing the special playoff.
“Overall, it was a good day. It was some of the best volleyball we played all year. It was one of those days that anything could happen,” said St. Marys coach Erica Vogt. “The girls wanted to win. It was a kind of an emotional day because the seniors didn’t want to be done.”
“It was a really good season with the group of girls we had. The seniors are good role models for the rest of the program,” added Vogt.
The senior members of the Lady Dutch team are Sami Hanes, Abbey Cribbs, Chelsie Gaton, Lauren Dalessandro, Courtney Bankovich and Chelsea Gregori.
The Lady Dutch finished their dual match season with a 9-8 record. They were 2-1 in pool play at the District 9-AA tourney and 0-1 in the special playoffs.
In Class A, played at St. Marys Area High School Saturday, Clarion was first with a 3-0 record, followed by AC Valley 2-1, Ridgway 1-2 and Port Allegany 0-4.
In their respective PIAA matches on Tuesday, Bradford will travel to Penn State Behrend to take on Fort LeBeouf, the District 10 champs, at 7 p.m. The Clarion squad will meet West Branch, the District 6 runner-up, at DuBois Area at 7 p.m., while AC Valley will travel to Cochranton High School to take on District 10 champion Linesville.
The winners of Tuesday’s matches will qualify for their respective PIAA quarterfinals, which begin Friday at Central York High School. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Saturday.