NEW KINGSTOWN >> Despite suffering a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals of the Cumberland Valley Tournament, Chambersburg's girls volleyball team couldn't have asked for a much better showing.
"We had a really solid day," Trojan coach Ty Frelin said. "After the Musselman (W.Va.) match (a win in the quarterfinals), I think we finally matured as a team. We stepped up in a close match and played to win instead of being afraid to make a mistake. I could see the fire and the desire that they really, really wanted to win. That's the first I've really seen from this group; they matured as a team as the day progressed."
After two rounds of pool play, Chambersburg held off the Applemen, a perennial powerhouse in West Virginia. The Trojans won the quarterfinal, 27-25.
They then faced off against Berks Catholic, which had not lost all day, in the semis. Chambersburg took down the Saints, 25-14 in the first set, before falling 25-21 to force a decisive third. Berks came out on top, 17-15.
"I'll be honest, I'll be surprised if Berks Catholic doesn't end up the Class AA state champions; they're really good," Frelin said. "It was a good day, and we played some really good teams. There were a lot of contributors."
Setter Lauren Ching was the general of the offense, racking up 134 assists. She also had 27 digs and 33 service points. Caitlin Vrabel led the attack with 54 kills and 15 blocks, while adding 17 digs and 22 points.
Other big offensive contributors were Lauren Diller (30 kills), Cara Long (28 kills, 12 blocks) and Bailey Nitterhouse (16 kills).
"We played aggressively basically from the get-go," Frelin said. "I liked how aggressive we were. Lauren did an awesome job distributing the ball. Caitlin is our go-to girl, and she was, but the other girls were contributors throughout. We also served well. We had a lot of aces, and that's aces against good teams. They weren't any fluke."
Kailey Layman (42 service points) and Rebecca Stewart smacked 12 and 11 aces, respectively, while Vrabel and Ching had eight apiece.
The Trojans also benefited from their ever-reliable defense. Danessa Martin had a staggering 75 digs, while Layman followed right behind with 52. Jenna Lombardozzi contributed 34, while Stewart dug 30 balls.
Pool play — Musselman, W.Va. 2, Chambersburg 0 (25-19, 25-19). Chambersburg 2, South Western 0 (25-16, 25-21). Chambersburg 2, Hershey 0 (25-10, 25-13)
Gold pool playoffs — Garden Spot 2, Chambersburg 0 (25-23, 25-23). Berks Catholic 2, Chambersburg 0 (25-16, 25-23). Chambersburg 1, Central Dauphin 1 (Chbg 25-23, CD 25-21)
Quarterfinals — Chambersburg 27, Musselman 25.
Semifinals — Berks Catholic 2, Chambersburg 1 (Chbg 25-14, BC 25-21, BC 17-15)
Kills — Caitlin Vrabel 54, Lauren Diller 30, Cara Long 28, Bailey Nitterhouse 16, Kailey Layman 12; Blocks — Vrabel 15, Long 12, Lauren Ching 5; Assists — Ching 134; Digs — Danessa Martin 75, Layman 52, Jenna Lombardozzi 34, Rebecca Stewart 30, Ching 27, Diller 19, Vrabel 17, Nitterhouse 16; Service points — Layman 42, Ching 33, Stewart 25, Vrabel 22, Lombardozzi 18, Martin 18; Aces — Layman 12, Stewart 11, Vrabel 8, Ching 8, Lombardozzi 5, Martin 4.
MCCONNELLSBURG PLACES SECOND >> McConnellsburg competed in the 14-team Bellwood-Antis Tournament on Saturday and placed second, with its only losses all day coming against Hollidaysburg.
Spartan coach Heidi Johnston said, "I honestly could not be prouder of their effort. We played great team volleyball for most of the day, and our only losses were to Hollidaysburg and they have a very solid team."
McConnellsburg lost to Hollidaysburg 2-0 in pool play, but came back to finish 6-2 with 2-0 wins over Williamsburg, Tussey Mountain and Tyrone.
In the playoff rounds, the Spartans got past Central of Martinsburg 25-23 and then beat Bishop Carroll 25-22 in the semifinal. In the final, Hollidaysburg won 2-0 again, with the Tigers taking games of 25-16 and 25-11.
McConnellsburg's players spread out the statistics. Lindsey Randler led in assists (61) and aces (6) and added 45 digs. Carly Swope was the digs leader with 46 and Kailey Dils was right behind with 44. Bridgette Ritchey threw down 18 kills and Swope had 15.
Kacey Hann led with six block kills and Kylie Keefer had five. Hann also had 12 kills and Keefer and Aryanna Lupey 11 each.
Johnston said, "It was good to see some different teams, and it was a good day for us – what I hope will be a real confidence builder."
Pool play — Hollidaysburg 2, McConnellsburg 0 (25-17, 25-23), McConnellsburg 2, Williamsburg 0 (25-9, 26-24), McConnellsburg 2, Tussey Mountain 0 (25-21, 25-21), McConnellsburg 2, Tyrone 0 (25-15, 25-17)
Playoffs — McConnellsburg 25, Central 23, McConnellsburg 25, Bishop Carroll 0, Hollidaysburg 2, McConnellsburg 0 (25-16, 25-11).
Kills — Bridgette Ritchey 18, Carly Swope 15, Kacey Hann 12, Kylie Keefer 11, Aryanna Lupey 11; Block kills — Hann 6, Keefer 5; Assists — Lindsey Randler 61; Digs — Swope 46, Randler 45, Kailey DIls 44; Aces — Randler 6, Dils 5, Keefer 5.