Deer Lakes volleyball falls in quarterfinals
Execution, or lack thereof, can make all the difference in the WPIAL boys volleyball playoffs.
No. 5 seed Deer Lakes failed to take advantage of a lead, dropping its Class AA quarterfinal match to No. 4 Beaver County Christian, 3-2, Thursday night at North Allegheny.
“(BCC) just hit smarter,” coach Rick Tatrn said. “When you don't hit smart, you get in trouble.”
Deer Lakes (11-3) went back and forth before winning Game 1 and rallied late to take Game 2 before dropping the final three games.
“We had Kody (Buttyan) do a lot tonight,” Tatrn said. “We played him all the way around. I wanted to rest him in the second half of game three. Now, I'm sorry I didn't. I think he ran out of gas.”
Buttyan, a 6-foot-5 middle hitter, had 22 kills, as did Donny Szoszorek. Zach Guiciardi had 45 assists.
The Lancers started strong, only trailing in the early stages in Game 1. A late rally by BCC was squashed, leading to a 25-23 victory.
Deer Lakes was able to erase a late deficit for a 25-22 win in Game 2.
“I think we played well for the first two games,” Tatrn said. “When you're up 2-0 and in command, you have to find a way to finish.”
Deer Lakes' height advantage was evident in the first two games as the Lancers were able to control play at the net. The final three games were a different story.
“(Beaver County Christian) kept their back row off-balance,” Tatrn said. “They tipped the ball a lot, they rolled the ball a lot. They didn't try to beat our blocks. They hit smart. They played smart.”
BCC matched Deer Lakes' powerful play at the net but managed to work the ball away from players like Buttyan, 6-6 Szoszorek and 6-4 outside hitter Nick Roberts on the opposite side.
Deer Lakes never held a lead in the third, and fourth games, falling 25-20 and 25-22, and then dropped a 15-12 decision in the fifth.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.