By Kenny Varner
SPRING MILLS – Moving on.
The fifth ranked Penns Valley volleyball team came out in their opening District 6 Class AA volleyball in three sets (25-6, 25-18,25-18) against 12th seeded Mount Union.
Despite falling 25-6 in the first set, the upstart Mount Union volleyball team pushed the Penns Valley team in the final two sets 25-18, 25-18.
However, the Lady Rams would muscle out the victory in a very close contest.
In the first set, Penns Valley got the strong fast start and never looked back in the 25-6 victory.
Leading the way for the Lady Rams were kills leaders Ella Hadley (10), Ellie Coursen (10) and Ella Aston (5).
Julia Emel led with 33 assists.
In the Digs department Maddie Butler finished with 12, Ella Hadley tallied seven while Laney Aston finished with six.
Ellie Coursen collected four aces while Gracilee Ironside and Ella Hadley collected three.
“We played great. The first game was amazing. It was our game and we were comfortable,” said Penns Valley coach Brad Baldwin. “In the second set I thought we got a little too comfortable. But we picked it back up. The girls have been resilient all year. I’m proud of them. The coaching staff is great. The girls are great.”
Seeded number 12, the Trojans proved that they belonged, taking strong leads in final two games.
“This season we’ve had problems with that first set. It’s almost like it takes a lot to get us moving,” said Mount Union volleyball coach Tessa McCormick. “ I think it was an eye opener. I think they saw in that second set that we play right with them if we just passed the ball and get our offense moving. They were a little more motivated.”
After falling behind 1-0, the Trojans started things off going on a 3-2 run with Havyn Park picking up a service point.
The two teams would exchange side outs. Mount Union added to its lead thanks to a hit in the middle by Gracey Cramer. Picking up the service point was Kaylee O’Leary , taking a 5-3 advantage.
The two once again exchanged side outs.
The Trojans would go up 6-5, before the Rams would make a run, tying the contest.
Mount Union would up its lead to 9-7 on service points by Chelsea Williams.
Penns Valley would take the lead midway through the contest, 13-11.
But the Trojans refused to let things get away without a fight as they started with a side out on a hit to the back row by Williams.
The run would continue as the Trojans reeled off five consecutive points, upping the Trojan lead to 17-14, forcing the Rams to take a time out.
After the time out, the Rams went on a run of their own, going on a 10-0 run. Notching the service points by Gracile Ironside.
In that run, Penns Valley got strong net work from Ellie Coursen who blocked, blasted and dug her team in the run, 24-17.
Mount Union refused to go away quietly got a blast by Abbey Brodbeck to add to the score.
But the Rams finished the contest on a spike by Coursen, making it a 2-0 advantage.
In the final contest, the Rams started off strong and built a solid lead. They were able to maintain their distance from the Trojans.
Mount Union stayed within striking distance in the contest but couldn’t go on a long scoring run to make a comeback attempt despite a strong effort throughout the contest.
In the end, the Trojans fell for the second time at 25-18.
Penns Valley moves on to the second round while the Trojans season quietly came to an end. But the Trojans showed the Rams that they were a team that played to the end no matter what the score was.