After his team's quarterfinal victory on Saturday, Pleasant Valley head coach John Gesiskie said that hadn't seen Southern Lehigh but had heard they were quite a force.
On Thursday, Gesiskie got to see first-hand exactly how much of a force the Spartans were.
Southern Lehigh, the district's No. 3 seed, dispatched of No. 2 Pleasant Valley rather easily in its District 11 AAA semifinal volleyball game, winning 25-11, 25-13, 25-16. The Spartans will play Parkland in the final on Saturday.
"They showed why they are going to be up there in states," said Gesiskie. "They have some firepower. They are always moving. We talk to our girls about moving without the ball. Southern Lehigh is moving all the time. They picked up on some of the stuff we do that other teams up by us don't and took it to us.
"I was happy to get to double digits. You have to look at the positives. You always want to win, but you always have to look at it realistically."
Pleasant Valley scored the opening point of game one, but there weren't many highlights after that. Up 7-5, Southern Lehigh went on a 13-0 run behind the serving of Melann Amory to put the game out of reach.
Game two was close in the beginning, but saw the Spartans slowly but surely stretch their lead. Southern Lehigh had a number of front-line girls demonstrate their power on kills and seemed to demoralize the Bears over time.
The Spartans put another big run together in the third game to assert their dominance. Holding a slim 5-4 lead, Southern Lehigh scored eight straight points to all but seal the deal. Amory's game-ending kill put an end to the Bears' season.
"Technically, we were overmatched," Gesiskie admitted. "It was little things here and there. In the MVC you can probably get away with one person missing one thing and another being a little slow. Down here [in the Lehigh Valley] they add up really quick. It's hard to train for those things in practice when you don't see it everyday like they do down here."
Although the Bears season comes to an end, it will be looked at as a positive one by Gesiskie. Pleasant Valley made it back to the district semis for the first time since 2004 and pushed its conference unbeaten streak to 42 games (three seasons). With a large group of underclassence unbeaten streak to 42 games (three seasons). With a large group of underclassmen coming back, the future still looks bright for Bears.
"I am happy with the season," said Gesiskie. "I thought we would get this far, but I also thought we would have Breanna (Joseph) all season. I think losing her early and not having her back until the last two conference games showed the younger girls that they have the ability to be strong.
"Her loss with definitely be felt next year, but not as much as if we had her the whole year and relied on her so heavily. They have already seen that they can play on the varsity level and do well."