Freeport volleyball tops Blackhawk to reach quarterfinals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The crowd nearly filled Freeport's gym for the WPIAL Class AA first-round girls volleyball match between the No. 2 Lady Yellowjackets and Blackhawk, and it remained rowdy enough to energize the home team and frustrate the visitors.
Freeport (15-1) pulled away in each game to prevail, 3-0. Scores stayed close through single digits (25-18, 25-17 and 25-15), but the Lady Yellowjackets displayed their strength with momentum-shifting runs.
“We were a little nervy there in the first game,” said Freeport coach Tom Phillips, whose team will meet No. 7 Ambridge on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. “Everyone was a little too concerned about doing a little more than they needed to and not just doing their part. But I think we got a little better each game.”
Blackhawk (7-5) scored the first two points of the match, and Freeport answered with a six-point run. The Lady Cougars cut the deficit to 7-6, and the Lady Yellowjackets responded by winning seven of the next eight points.
So the pattern went. Freeport used a dominant stretch in Game 2 to turn a 6-all tie into a 14-8 lead. Blackhawk rallied to come as close as 17-15. Then the Lady Yellowjackets won eight of the next 10 points.
In Game 3, a 9-all tie became a 17-10 Freeport advantage.
Blackhawk coach Robin Ostach gave the Freeport fans, particularly the students, a bit of credit for the emotional swings.
“The crowd was a huge factor in the game,” Ostach said. “We've never experienced anything like that. … They were on top of us.”
Different girls stepped up on each occasion to spark the streaks. Junior Megan Sweeny had four of the 14 Freeport points that didn't come from unforced Blackhawk errors in Game 1. Junior Alexis Schrecengost scored four of Freeport's final nine points in Game 2. Freshman Zoe Pawlak and senior Danika Durand keyed the major surge in Game 3.
“I think we built up energy as the match went on,” said senior Ashley Sample, who had seven kills.
Pawlak finished with a team-high nine kills and added one block and three aces. Schrecengost registered seven kills, one block and one ace. And Sweeny had four kills and three aces.
Juniors Haley Schramm and Allie Menges paced Blackhawk. Schramm had six kills, one block and one ace, while Menges finished with three kills and two blocks. Ostach acknowledged the Lady Cougars missed a few opportunities.
“We just couldn't get things coordinated,” she said. “It was like one person would be on, but another would be off.”
Menges made the biggest difference with her partial blocks. Blackhawk's defense at the net forced Freeport to win after long rallies on several occasions.
“We're a short team, so we expect to get blocked,” Sample said. “They're a good team and they came to play.”
Sample, Durand and fellow senior Lauren Frazetta left the Freeport court as winners for the final time. To reach the WPIAL finals for the fourth time in their careers, they must help the Lady Yellowjackets win the next two matches at neutral sites.
“It's pretty sad,” Sample, a three-year starter, said of her final home match. “It's kind of emotional and it really hasn't hit me yet.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.
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.