PV sweeps Indians in volleyball
The Pleasant Valley volleyball team had beaten Lehighton just once in its previous seven matches heading into Wednesday's contest.
The last time the Bears had won was last October, when they swept the Indians at home before falling to them in the MVC finals a few days later.
Yesterday afternoon the Pleasant Valley program showed flashes of its dominance from earlier in the decade by sweeping the Indians, 25-14, 25-11, 25-17. It is the Bears' third consecutive MVC win.
"The girls are finally stepping up," said Pleasant Valley head coach John Gesiskie, who also picked up his 299th career victory in the process. "They are coming together as a whole. We now have a bench that we can pull from.
"The girls have really been putting out the energy these last couple of weeks. They have increased their workouts and have been pushing each other. They have been communicating better too. Before they didn't really talk that much."
Lehighton was the aggressor to start game one. Debra Lobien opened the game with four straight service points (two aces) and gave her Indians an early lead. However, Pleasant Valley began to chip away and tied the game at eight thanks to a Breanna Joseph kill. The Bears would take their first lead a couple of points later.
Pleasant Valley's Paige McKinsey then stepped to the service line with a 17-13 lead and proceeded to pick up five points to extend the lead to 22-13. Teammate Kayla Dorney then sealed the game (25-14) with back-to-back aces. Dorney finished with four aces, six kills and was 14-of-15 from the service line for the match.
It was Crystal Cambria's turn to shine in game two, as she racked up six service points in a row to give the Bears an 8-2 lead before Lehighton called timeout. She would pick up two more points before walking away from the line.
Later, Dorney and Paige Band would each go on four-point runs to blow the game open. By the time Band was done serving the score was 20-4. An errant set ended the Indians' misery, 25-11. A combination of strong kills and Lehighton miscues allowed the Bears to go on runs of eight, four and four points.
"We have a young team," said Lehighton head coach Rachel Quinn. "We just didn't bring our 'A' game. We are coming off some injuries and I don't know if some of our players are playing scared or what. We are not playing top-notch right now. We are not playing Lehighton volleyball.
"Hats off to Pleasant Valley. They played very well. They mixed it up. They were aggressive. We were too much up-and-down. We couldn't stay consistent throughout the whole match."
Although they were beaten rather handedly in the first two games, the Indians did not give in. Some strong serving from Danielle Fake gave Lehighton a spark early. Still, the game was back-and-forth throughout until the end. Joseph came up big with four blocks late, including the game-winning kill, to propel the Bears to victory.
Joseph ended the day with nine kills and eight blocks. Cambria finished 7-for-8 from the line with two aces and six kills. Teammate Brittni Cumberland helped out with 26 assists.
Debra Lobien led the Indians on offense with 13 assists and four aces. Sister Jessica did her best on defense with 24 digs. She and Anne Zurn led the team with four kills. Fellow Indian Lauren McCullion added 26 digs.
Pleasant Valley improves to 9-1 overall and 4-0 in the MVC. As the Bears try to reclaim their place atop of the conference, Gesiskie considered Wednesday's win as a 'statement victory.'
"I think so," said Gesiskie. "I think Lehighton beat Pocono Mountain East in five, so we should be able to come out on top against them later this week.
"I told the girls that we are going to take it to everybody whenever we can. Win or lose we are going to give it everything we have. There is nothing else to be said. We want to win and we want to win big."