Dropping the first game of the best-of-five match wasn't enough to keep Abington down against its biggest rival. But then again, winning the match wasn't exactly enough to make the Abington coaching staff happy.
Despite losing the first set, 25-19, the Lady Ghosts rallied, winning the next three games in a row to come out with a 3-1 win over Cheltenham in a Suburban One American Conference match at Abington High School on Wednesday afternoon.
But despite the win, Abington coach Jea Lee wasn't happy with what he saw from his team.
"That was the worst game of our season,' he said. "It was a crappy game. We had an amazing, intense practice last night and our intensity level was through the roof, but today, everybody came out flat. I don't know what it was. We were disgusted.'
While there was some lackadaisical play on the Abington side, a few players did play noticeably well.
Led by the strong serving of Leah Simmons and the impressive net play of Claire Gassman and Carley Cooper, Abington was able to improve to 4-3 in conference play, while Cheltenham, which played very well in out-of-conference play, going undefeated in four matches, dropped to 1-6 in the American Conference.
"Carley and Claire were attacking the ball very well and defensively, they were better today than in previous matches,' Lee said. "Our serving was good today and overall, it was a good game for those two.'
After the Lady Panthers won the first game, Abington came out on fire in the second game and led from start to finish, with Cooper tapping a shot over the net in between Cheltenham players to give the Lady Ghosts a 25-12 win in Game 2.
In the third game, the Lady Ghosts received some quality play from Gassman and again controlled things, going up 12-4 early on en route to a 25-19 win. Kate Ryan blocked a Cheltenham spike attempt on the final point to give Abington the win.
Cheltenham would actually go up early in the fourth game, leading 6-2 and 10-7, respectively, but the Lady Ghosts fought back, winning five of the final six points to come out with a 25-15 victory in match-clinching set.
"I thought we played extremely well in the first game,' Cheltenham coach Herb Wagner said. "They played the way I would like them to play and Abington also made a lot of mistakes, so it went the way it went. After that, it went the opposite way you would want it to go. I was happy to see that we fought back in the final two games. We came up short today, but I was happy with their performance even though they have room to go grow.'
In the losing effort, Cheltenham was led by senior Madeline Parisi's five kills, two blocks and two aces. Selena Cheang also added five kills.
"She should be the steadiest player that we have,' Wagner said of Parisi. "She's the only club player on the team and the other girls look up to her, so I am usually very happy with her performance.
Abington was led by Cooper's 10 kills, 11 digs and two blocks, as well as Gassman's six kills and eight digs. Simmons served 13 aces and recorded three blocks, while Jamie Kidd finished with eight digs.
And while the Lady Ghosts are now over .500, Lee just wants to put Wednesday's match behind him and the team and work on plenty of issues that he sees right now from his girls.
"We certainly need to work on setting,' Lee said. "We like to do what we call deep dishes, and we need to do a better job on that than we did today. We need to work on our free ball and identifying what attacks we need to do on the court. We have a lot to work on.'
Follow Mike Prince on Twitter @mike_prince21