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Freeport volleyball upset by Ambridge

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 12:04 a.m.
Freeport Megan Sweeny (No. 3), Brittney Bianco (No. 01), Alexis Schrecengost (No. 23) and Emily Toy (No. 14) embrace after losing to Ambridge during the WPIAL quarter finals at Seneca Valley High School on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

Freeport coach Tom Phillips knew a lack of intensity or a lapse in concentration could lead to issues for his team.

In this case, it led to an early exit from the WPIAL Class AA girls volleyball playoffs.

No. 2 seed Freeport was unable to establish any momentum and dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 7 Ambridge in the quarterfinals Wednesday night at Seneca Valley.

Freeport was hoping to push for a fourth straight appearance in the WPIAL finals, but this season ended woefully short compared to the past three.

“From beginning to end tonight, to be honest with you, we just didn't play,” Phillips said. “I don't know if we weren't prepared to play tonight, but we certainly didn't play anything like we've played (this season).”

Freeport took the first game, 26-24, dropped the second, 25-21, and won the third, 25-21, before dropping the final two, 25-23 and 15-8.

Freeport's problems began with the first game.

“From the service line, we were horrible. Our defense was horrible,” Phillips said. “(We had) very few blocks today, a lack of intensity all over the floor.”

Trailing 7-4, Freeport (12-2) went on an 11-3 run, grabbing a 15-12 lead at the midpoint of the game.

Ambridge (11-1) immediately took the lead back with a 6-0 run, establishing a 17-15 advantage.

Though game one went Freeport's way, game two may have been the biggest sign of things to come.

Immediately, Freeport dug its way into a 9-0 hole. The closest the Yellowjackets got was 22-20.

“We struggled passing the ball,” Phillips said. “Our offense is very potent when it's on. But you've got to be able to pass the ball.”

Game four started like game two, with Ambridge going on an early 8-2 run. Freeport was able to battle back, forcing ties at 18 and 19 points apiece, but Ambridge held to force a fifth game.

In that deciding game, Freeport stalled, surrendering a 9-2 run by Ambridge to close out the match.

Junior Alexis Shrecengost led Freeport with 28 service points and 10 kills.

Freshman Zoe Pawlak had 16 service points and nine kills, and senior Ashley Smaple had 14 service points and four kills.

Ambridge ensured itself a spot in the PIAA playoffs as one of the WPIAL's final four. The Bridgers will play Mars in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at North Allegheny.

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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