Kittanning girls volleyball team puts up good fight, falls to Indiana
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As the undeniably shorter girls volleyball team, Kittanning needed to excel in its execution of small things against perennial power Indiana on Thursday night.
The Wildcats scrambled and dove for balls during almost every rally. They prevailed in some of the match's longest vollies. But they never did quite enough to solve Indiana's firepower.
In its first major Section 3-AA challenge, Kittanning (3-1, 1-1) fell to the Indians, 3-0. The Wildcats' hustle caught the attention of all in attendance at Indiana and sent a clear message: Kittanning might not intimidate, but it most certainly frustrates.
“It was fantastic to see a good team struggle against my girls, or at least be worried and have to call a timeout to change momentum,” said Kittanning coach Kara Grafton, whose team twice went on runs that caused Indiana to call for a break. “That's what we want to do. … It's great to see how far they've come.”
Indiana, 2-0 in section play, likely has replaced Freeport as Kittanning's ultimate twice-a-season test. The Indians have won or shared five consecutive section titles, and they've lost just two section matches dating to 2007.
The first game made clear that this edition of Indiana's squad is no less daunting than previous ones. A 6-0 run by Indiana opened the match, and the Indians pulled away to win, 25-14.
The next two games ended with 25-22 scores. And in both, Kittanning won enough points in a row to rattle Indiana.
In Game 2, the Wildcats led, 15-10, when Indiana coach Malinda Oesterling called a timeout. Kittanning had claimed the previous five points — two came on Indiana errors, one was an ace by Emily Knepshield, and two were kills by Nicole Eckman and Kirsten Wolfe, respectively.
In Game 3, two unforced Indiana errors, a Knepshield ace and a Wolfe kill gave Kittanning four consecutive points that tied the score, 19-19. Oesterling used another timeout.
Wolfe finished with seven kills and 13 digs. Terra Schall logged 18 digs and three kills, and Frankie Religa logged a team-high 24 kills.
“They had a good blocking team,” Schall said. “We definitely have to hit around them and capitalize on their errors.”
Said Religa: “A lot of times, we had spurts of good and then spurts of bad. … We started off shaky. We can definitely improve on that next time we see them.”
Junior Natalie Cignetti, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter, led Indiana offensively with 12 kills and six aces. Senior Haley Stapleton (5-9) also registered 12 kills. And senior Kaitlyn Palmer (5-8) had six kills, two aces and two blocks.
Indiana's coach commended Kittanning's resolve in the face of such a lineup.
“Kittanning played really good defense and kept the ball coming back,” Oesterling said. “It was challenging, and it was fun.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303, Ext. 1321.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kids know best: It’s Santa magic
- Wear with confidence: Pump up your workout with stylish exercise gear
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- NFL notebook: Browns’ Manziel out for finale; Hoyer ailing, too
- Pitt recruit Whitehead remains committed
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin won’t ask for taunting clarification from league
- Lawsuit against Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett’s Medicaid program overhaul say it could hurt poor
- Board beagle to be safe
- Ronstadt, Eagles among 14 to enter Pop Music Hall
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Living with Children: Using the ‘ticket system’ for misbehavior