The Lady Eagles, in third place in YAIAA III, had enough firepower to give his Hawkettes a loss, a loss they could not afford if they wanted to stay close on the heels of the league-leading and unbeaten Delone Catholic Squirettes.
Then there was the fact he would be missing two senior starters for the game. Middle hitter Abbey Rhodes was out for sure and outside hitter Paige Fuhrman would see only limited action.
The Hawkettes were able to take care of business with a workmanlike 25-17, 25-12, 25-20 win over the Lady Eagles at the Hawk House.
"Watching the results in the paper, and seeing how they did in their game against Delone the other night, and knowing I would be down two starters was something I gave a great deal of thought about," Bitler said. "We have been working with a younger lineup and we are getting better. I think tonight that lineup played extremely well."
Bitler's fears looked well-founded when the Lady Eagles took a 15-12 lead in game one. Led by middle hitter Lauren Shearer, the Lady Eagles were forcing the Hawkettes into unforced mistakes while controlling the net.
All that changed when junior Zoie Cleary went to the serving line and senior Diamond Sorrells moved into the middle hitter's position. Cleary served eight straight points while Sorrells slammed everything close to the net back
When the dust cleared, Hanover had a 24-16 lead. After Hanover was called for a carry and a long hit, the Hawkettes closed out the game on another Sorrells kill.
"I didn't think our defense connected well with our offense in the first game," Bitler said. "That was taken care of when Diamond moved into the middle."
Hanover roared out to an 18-4 lead in game two and never looked back. Cleary had another big game on the serving line with five service points. Senior Logan Myers complimented Sorrells well at the net with the results being a pretty easy win.
Game three turned out to be the best game of the night as, once again, Hanover used a late-game surge to take control of the game. Holding a 19-18 lead, Hanover got a couple of big hits from junior Madison Hart and some strong serving from Myers to move out to a 23-19 lead.
It was fitting the game and match ended when Sorrells slam home a kill for the 24th point and blocked a Bermudian Springs shot for the 25th point.
"This was a big win for us," Sorrells said. "We don't have everyone in there, but we are hanging in there. Our rotation is doing pretty good. It's my responsibility to get the team going. It seems like, when I get excited, the team gets excited. I think this team can go pretty far."
For Bermudian Springs, it seemed like every time it made a run at Hanover, something would go wrong.
"I'm very proud of the way we played," Lady Eagles coach Mike Beachy said. "They had the heaviest hitter out there in Diamond Sorrells and it was hard to get emotional when you have someone hitting the ball at you that hard. We stuck with it and, when Sorrells was in the back row, we tried to take advantage of it.
"That's how volleyball is. It's a mental sport and you just try to survive to fight another day."