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Volleyball teams hoists 1st conference title banner

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 10:50 p.m.

No matter what the sport, every team at Ligonier Valley sets the goal of winning the Heritage Conference and making a playoff berth. For the first time in school history, the Lady Rams volleyball team accomplished this goal, sharing the 2013 title with Northern Cambria, as well as competing in the District 6 playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

With a conference record of 12-2, and an overall record of 13-5, Coach Amy McLaughlin said she knew the team had a strong chance of taking the title after defeating 2012 conference champs Penns Manor early in the season. After each game, McLaughlin said she would remind the team that the tallies in the win column were beginning to mount up and they were one step closer to their goal of raising a banner.

“I could not be any prouder of these girls for what they accomplished this year,” McLaughlin said. “It was an awesome experience to see them succeed and make school history. It was especially rewarding for the six seniors who will leave this year knowing they had a part in placing a conference title on our banner.”

The Lady Rams found themselves in the top spot after avenging a loss to Northern Cambria in the last match of the season. The two teams battled back and forth through five games. Ligonier took the first 26-24, to which Northern Cambria fought back to take two straight 25-19 and 25-10. After tying it up with a 25-18 game, the match came down to the final game, where Ligonier won 15-13 in front a of packed home crowd.

“When we scored the final point, the gym erupted with cheering and a flood of the student body came onto the court and circled the girls. It was a display of Rams pride I will never forget. We had such wonderful support from parents and the student body for the game. The gym was full of energy and it meant so much to the girls,” McLaughlin noted.

Senior middle hitter Amanda Ross was one of the biggest weapons in the Ligonier arsenal this season, leading the team with 121 kills and 62 solo blocks. Libero Rachel Wallace, also a senior, led the team with 187 digs and 172 service points. McLaughlin also commended juniors Madison McLauglin and Rebecca Kromel and sophomore Shelbi Shearer, who all made big contributions throughout the season.

The season finished for the Rams in the playoffs, where Ligonier Valley fell to Huntingdon in five games 9-25, 25-23, 25-21, 14-25, 11-15. Huntingdon also defeated Ligonier Valley last year in the first round of the playoffs.

“I told the girls when the season was over that no matter what happened in playoffs they could go out on a great note as Heritage Conference Champions,” McLaughlin said. “This group of girls was an amazing group to coach, and I am blessed to have had them over the past four years.”

Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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