Deer Lakes volleyball team sweeps Montour in consolation game
Just like in last week's quarterfinal match against Hopewell, veteran Deer Lakes coach Rick Tatrn called a timeout at the right time.
On Friday, with the first game up for grabs with Deer Lakes ahead, 22-21, Tatrn called a timeout, and the Lancers took off from there and remained alive for a potential second consecutive state title.
Deer Lakes swept Montour, 25-21, 21-13 and 25-16, to win Friday's WPIAL Class AA consolation game at Chartiers Valley.
The Lancers (11-2) will face District 10 champion Cochranton on Tuesday in the opening round of the PIAA tournament.
The other three Montour (11-4) losses this season were to WPIAL champion Ambridge.
“When you see something you need to discuss, sometimes it's better off not to wait until the end, between games,” Tatrn said about his timeout.
After time was called, Deer Lakes shut down the Spartans, then took a 7-1 lead in the second game en route to a 25-13 win.
“That was the game plan,” Tatrn said. “You try to do that all the time, but it doesn't happen all the time. It's something you hope for. “
Montour had to use both timeouts each of the first two games to try and stem the Deer Lakes momentum.
“If we would have come out strong Tuesday (against Derry), we wouldn't have been in this game tonight; we'd be in another game,” Tatrn said, gesturing toward the nearby gym where Ambridge brought home WPIAL gold.
In the third game, Montour led, 9-8, before the Lancers took control for good.
“They just had a little more firepower than we did,” Montour coach Brendon Aleski said. “They have a lot more experience with a lot of kids who played for the state championship team last season. That goes a long way in crunch time.”
Ahead 19-15 in the third game, Deer Lakes was awarded a point on a Montour antenna violation, a call Aleski disputed.
“They said they missed it, but in the grand scheme of things, it was no big deal,” Aleski said. “They make mistakes, we make mistakes, no problem. We fought hard, but Deer Lakes has more weapons.”
St. Francis (Pa.)-bound Tony Nicotra led the Lancers with 17 kills, and senior Sean McTigue had 10 digs. Junior Zach Guiciardi contributed 34 assists.
George Guido is a freelance writer.