Freeport downs Hopewell, advances to PIAA quarterfinals
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oach Tom Phillips admitted it wasn't vintage Freeport volleyball, but it was effective Freeport volleyball.
The Yellowjackets handled business three days after winning a WPIAL title by defeating Hopewell, 3-0, in the first round of the PIAA Class AA girls volleyball tournament Tuesday at North Allegheny High School.
Zoe Pawlak led all players with 15 kills, and Alexis Schrecengost added 11 kills — including eight in the final set — to lead Freeport. The Yellowjackets advance to the quarterfinals Saturday after winning in the first round by set scores of 25-22, 25-19, 25-20.
“I think they call it the WPIAL hangover. A lot of girls exerted a lot of energy Saturday, but we did we had to to win,” Phillips said. “I'm happy that we're moving on, but I could even see it in practice yesterday that the legs weren't there.”
Hopewell got eight kills from Mackenzi Woolsey and seven each from Gabby Stala and Lauryn Driscoll, but the Vikings weren't able to put together a late run or win the critical late points to steal a set from the Yellowjackets.
“I thought we played very well. That's the WPIAL champs over there, and we were right in it,” Hopewell coach Terry Borkovic said. “We missed a couple serves at crucial times and had a couple bad passes, but we were right there.”
While Freeport wasn't as dominant swinging at the net as they were against Indiana in the WPIAL final, the Yellowjackets made up for it with strong defensive play and some key points on serves.
Freeport had nine aces in the match with contributions from nearly the whole lineup. Pawlak had three, Emily Toy and Schrecengost had two each, and Grace Ward and Brittney Bianco had an ace in the match.
“From the service line, we were pretty good tonight, and defensively, we kept the ball off the floor,” Phillips said. “That was good, but it was that offensive effort that wasn't quite there.”
With three days off until their quarterfinal match, Phillips said he plans to give his players Wednesday off to rest and get their energy back for what he hopes will be the first of three remaining matches in the tournament.
“The good thing from the first round to the second round of states is that you get those three days off, so hopefully we can get our heads back on and come out of the clouds a bit.
“That's what you've got to do if you're moving along, and we're happy with the effort we got tonight,” Phillips said.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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