By Kenny Varner
BELEFONTE – Monday night at Bellefonte high school, the air had a post season buzz to it as two successful volleyball programs went head to head in a non-conference battle.
The Lady Raiders hosted the Central Mountain Wildcats. The contest would go four game before a winner would be crowned.
But when the last ball hit the court, Central Mountain would earn a hard fought 3-1 match (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-18).
“One of my starting middles birth their ankle last night. So we had to play with different line ups tonight. It worked out ,” said Central Skip McCann. “It was a little trying at times but they put it together in the end and they pulled it out.”
Bellefonte led off the match, picking up game one.
The Red Raiders got its offense started right away as they posted the first four points of the game, sparked by three service points by Carlee Pepperman. In that run she highlighted it with an assist.
Early on, Bellefonte took a 6-1 advantage.
Central Mountain battled its way back into the game, on two service points by Reese Walizer and a side out, cutting it to a 6-4 contest.
But the run would be temporary as the Red Raiders went on a 5-0 run, four of those points came from the serving of Carley Clarkson. In the run, both Aubrey Schreppel and Grace Novitsky had blasts for points.
Both teams would have their turns on side outs as the Red Raiders would hold a late 16-10 advantage.
Central Mountain would climb their way back into the contest going on a 9-3 run, tying the contest at 19.
In that run, the Wildcats got clutch serves from Katelyn Bowman, Sophia Hardy, Payton Kinley and Walizer.
But Bellefonte put the game out of reach thanks to three service points by Clarkson.
In the end, the Lady Raiders outlasted Central Mountain.
“We stuck with it. But I just think we took our feet off the gas after that and we just didn’t go after it enough,” said Bellefonte coach Monica Smith said.
It looked as though that Bellefonte was heading to a win in game two, leading 5-1 early on.
Early service points came from Pepperman and Ella Novitsky.
Bellefonte would lead by 9-5 before the Wildcats started to make their move.
Walizer posted a service point before the two teams had a side out.
Trailing 11-8, Central Mountain rallied behind the service points of Makenna Stratts. In the run, the Wildcats picked up a blast by Payton Kinley and one by teammate Cora Myers, stealing the lead at 13-11.
After a Bellefonte side out, Central Mountain rallied back posting four consecutive points, making it a 17-12 lead thanks to three service points by Myers. Myers had two aces in the run.
The other point came thanks to strong upfront play by Keely Rohrbach. Rohrbach came up strong numerous time when her team needed, posting numerous blasts and dinks and dunks up front.
Despite a late run by Bellefonte, the Wildcats were still able to tie the match at one, winning 25-19.
Things would be a little closer in the third game, but it would be Central Mountain that would win its second in a row, 25-22. Rounding out the contest, the Wildcats would finishing things out. Despite the tough play by the Lady Raiders, the Wildcats closed out the contest, winning 25-18.