Frazier girls volleyball rallies to beat Geibel
Despite being a relatively young team, the Frazier girls volleyball team has had a lot of success this season, particularly against Section 5-A opponents.
Coming into Thursday's match at Geibel, the Commodores were perfect in section play, and despite a strong effort from the Gators, Frazier still owns a spotless section record, thanks to a hard-fought 25-27, 25-20, 25-14, 25-23 victory.
“I knew it wasn't going to be easy,” Frazier coach Mandy Hartman said. “It's all about tradition with these two teams, and traditionally speaking, this is usually our hardest match of the (regular) season. I have to give both teams credit. Both teams played tremendous. The defensive plays I saw tonight, I haven't seen too many of those.”
Both teams are holding playoff spots in the section, so as expected, the match was close the whole way.
In the first set, Frazier trailed, 19-12, but rallied for a 20-all draw, only to give up a late rally, as the home Gators took a 1-0 lead.
Haley Solan led the Gators (4-4, 4-3) with 26 assists, while Emily Costantino and Rachel Elias finished with 13 and 12 kills, respectively, for the match.
In the second set, the Commodores seemed to settle down, and some big kills by Alena Blaszczak and Cassidy Guiser helped Frazier even the score at a game apiece. Guiser finished with a match-high 26 kills and Blaszczak added seven kills.
“We came out slow and I think there were a lot of nerves,” Hartman said. “But after we settled down, we played well.”
Frazier's strongest set was the third. A solid defensive effort at the net, coupled with active back line play by McKenzie Barch, helped the Commodores take a 2-1 lead. Barch finished the night with 60 digs.
“Barch is phenomenal,” Geibel coach Rick Watkins said. “She just does it all, and they're outside hitters, we just couldn't defend. But we did the best we could.”
Geibel bounced back after two straight losses to play a strong fourth game. The Gators built a 21-14 lead before Frazier (7-1, 7-0) called a timeout. The Commodores responded by fighting back to take the fourth game, 25-23.
“What I love about this team is that no matter what the score is, they never quit,” Hartman said. “They believe in each other and I think that's why they've had so much success this year.”
As for the Gators, it was another tough loss after a solid effort. According to Watkins, his team just needs to get over a mental hurdle.
“If moral victories counted, we would be undefeated,” Watkins said. “We've just got to be able to finish and get mentally tougher.”
Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday. Geibel travels to Carmichaels, while Frazier hosts Connellsville.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-626-3534.