CATASAUQUA – Panther Valley and Lehighton each won matches but none of the local teams could move on in Saturday's District 11 AA Volleyball Tournament.
Lehighton started the day off by making some noise in their opening Pool A match against Blue Mountain. The Lady Indians took the first game 25-23 and put the tournament's top team on the ropes by taking leads in the next two games. The Eagles were just too strong in coming back to win their match, 2-1.
"I think what really affected us was the long layoff going into districts," Lehighton coach Rachel Quinn said.
Bethlehem Catholic, the Pool A winner, swept the two-time defending MVC champ.
"They have a strong program and they have a great feeder system, that is something we lack," Quinn said of Bethlehem Catholic.
Despite the disadvantage, Quinn is proud of her team's performance that mustered out a 2-1 win over Tamaqua to close out the day.
Molly Harleman (12 kills) and Sheena White (17 kills) paced the Indians. Amanda Windbeck recorded 76 Digs and 3 kills from the back row and had Madeline Zurn had 23 assists for Indians.
In Pool B, Panther Valley started off sluggish by dropping three straight games to Saucon Valley, a team they competed well against earlier in the season.
"Their offense setup was faster," Panther Valley coach Nancy Filer said of Saucon Valley.
They followed that up with a three straight losses to Colonial League Champion Southern Lehigh before closing out the day strong with a three-game sweep of the seventh-seed North Schuylkill Spartans.
"The day ended nice," Filer said. "They did come together at the end."
Seniors Katie Zulic (18 service points), Carly Markovic (33 assists) and Christa Mantz (18 Kills) paced the Lady Panthers on the day. Deanna Focht and Amy Yusella each had 12 blocks.
"It was a good year," Filer said of her teams 13-3 season, "At times we played some really nice volleyball."
The future is bright for coach Filer as she looks forward. Despite losing four starters, her cupboard is full of "energetic girls" who are eager to play.
Tamaqua, who snuck in as the eighth and lowest seed of the tournament, had the roughest go of the day. They lost all three games to Lehigh Valley Conference Power Bethlehem Catholic as well as Blue Mountain.
The Lady Raiders broke through with a 25-14 win in the first game of their match with Lehighton. That proved to be the high point of the tournament for Tamaqua.
"Our momentum increased as the day went on." Tamaqua coach Stacy Setlock said. "We were able to come out on top. The girls pushed through in the end."
Paige Baddick led the Lady Raiders with 32 assists. Sarah Lesisko added 16 service points and Sarah Paluck had 13 kills.
"The girls really worked hard to get in good condition," Setlock said. "There were times where we only had six girls to play and we had a lot of girls step up to play."
Fourth-seeded Bethlehem Catholic won Pool A with a sweeping upset of the top-seeded Blue Mountain Eagles. They will face Saucon Valley in Tuesday's Semifinals. Pool B winner Southern Lehigh will face the Blue Mountain in the opening game at 5:30.