Connellsville volleyball team tops Uniontown

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007

There hasn't been anything that's slowed down the Connellsville volleyball team this season -- not even a disappointing practice.

"(Monday), we had the worst practice that we have had all year," Connellsville coach Nancy Wheeler said. "I'm glad that's behind us."

That poor practice it did little to impact the Lady Falcons on Tuesday, as they rolled to a 25-4, 25-18, 25-13 victory over visiting Uniontown. The Lady Falcons clinched the Section 2-AAA title.

"Connellsville has always had a talented group of girls," Wheeler said. "They just needed that little extra push. This year, their work ethic has made the difference."

Connellsville (14-0, 8-0) got off to a tremendous start against Uniontown (5-10, 1-7).

Megan Saylor opened the game at the service line, and she connected on a series of great serves. Saylor led the team with 23 service points and 27 assists. Her early serves coupled with kills from Anika Keno, Jessica Cole, Cassie Show and Jennifer Budd helped Connellsville take a 14-0 lead.

Cole finished with a team-high eight kills and 11 digs. Keno added 14 service points (eight aces) and six kills. Katie Sleasman was tough on defense, coming up with a game-high 16 digs.

"Sleasman is hard to replace because she is so good at reading the ball," Wheeler said.

Connellsville finished off the first set easily, but things got a little tougher in the second and third sets.

"I played everybody, and in games two and three, everybody played in different positions," Wheeler said.

Uniontown was more competitive in the second set.

A tip shot and a block by Mallory Sanner pulled the Lady Red Raiders to within one at 11-10. Connellsville regained a lead thanks to some solid serving from Cole, but Uniontown eventually closed the gap to 20-18.

Lauren Wagner finished with a team-high five kills, and Andrea Giachetti added four assists for Uniontown.

"I think our girls were a little overwhelmed playing in the first set," Uniontown coach Dario Piccolomini said. "But my girls are getting better at not quitting, and they hung in there."

Despite giving Connellsville a scare in the second set, the Lady Falcons were able to hold on before Sleasman finished the set with an ace.

In the third set, Uniontown stayed competitive early, but Brittany O'Donnell came up with a couple of nice tip shots to help Connellsville pull away at 21-11. Sleasman added a late kill to finish off the sweep for Connellsville.

The Lady Falcons will visit Laurel Highlands on Thursday.

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