Wolves win, reach semifinals
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Scoring several points in a row sometimes worries West Shamokin senior Jill Glover, who's conscious of anything that remotely suggests she's a star among the Lady Wolves.
But Glover acknowledges she's willing to single-handedly spark runs from time to time.
One of those occasions emerged when No. 4 West Shamokin met No. 5 Shenango in a WPIAL Class A girls volleyball quarterfinal on Wednesday at North Allegheny High School. The Lady Wolves held a slim lead in Game 1 but struggled to pull away.
Enter Glover, who used three kills and three aces to turn a one-point lead into a seven-point margin.
West Shamokin's young lineup relaxed and gained confidence. A 3-0 win over Shenango ensued — the game scores were 25-17, 25-19 and 25-13.
“When we mess up sometimes, it's like I want to get the set, get the ball and just make up for it,” Glover said. “But it's all a team effort. I definitely don't want to be known as a ball hog. You need a good pass to get a good set, and you need a good set to get a good hit.”
The Lady Wolves (11-3) earned a spot in the semifinals, where they will meet Section 1-A rival and top seed Greensburg Central Catholic on Thursday at North Hills High School. West Shamokin also secured a berth in the PIAA tournament.
Glover had five kills and three aces in Game 1 and finished the match with 16 kills. Her strong start set the tone for fellow hitters Alecia Calhoun, Amanda Wensel and Kelly Clowser, who finished with nine, four and five kills, respectively. Calhoun had four blocks and Wensel earned two.
“That last rotation in Game 3, all three spots across the front row, (Calhoun) just owned it. She owned blocking, tipping, hitting,” coach Justin Nolder said. “That's what you want out of both of your middles. And Amanda Wensel was not far behind.”
Shenango's offense struggled early. It had just one kill in Game 1. The Lady Wildcats found a rhythm in the latter two games, though.
“Our team is always a little tight before every game,” Shenango coach Angela Heagy said. “After about five points, we're out of it.”
The Lady Wildcats led 18-17, in Game 2, but West Shamokin won eight of the final nine points.
In Game 3, Shenango jumped out to a 8-3 lead. But a West Shamokin timeout stifled some of the momentum, and the Lady Wolves pulled away after the break.
Katie Lacey finished with a team-high five kills and also served an ace. Sophia Koury added four kills, and libero Jade Espizito served two aces on top of a performance in which she almost delivered a dig per point.
West Shamokin has desired a third meeting with Greensburg Central Catholic since the end of the regular season. The Lady Wolves, who lost both section matches, believe they're finally playing up to their potential.
“I think if we use Game 3's momentum from this match going into (Thursday's) match, we can certainly stay with them, and we can beat them,” Nolder said. “The girls have to believe that can happen. And my job, overnight, is to miraculously make them understand that anything is possible.”
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