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Fillies beat Nativity in volleyball showdown

Jasmine Mooney doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to taking on her most spirited rival — Pottsville Nativity.

Mooney gets all pumped up and before you know it, the splendid 6-1 outside hitter on the Marian volleyball team just lets it fly when she’s honing down on the Green Wave.

So it was no surprise on Monday evening with a huge crowd in attendance — and both teams uniformed in pink — that Mooney wanted to bring her A-game. Just a week ago, the two-time all-stater picked up her 1,000th career kill, and she continued her mission with another impressive performance.

“This is so huge, it is a game that every one of us gets ready for,” said Mooney after Marian beat Nativity for a second time this season, 25-12, 24-26, 25-18, 25-21.

The victory all but clinched another Division IV title in the Schuylkill Girls Volleyball League for the Fillies.

“Nativity always comes to play. I really thought after the first set that we should have taken them in three,” said Marian coach Dr. John Fallabel. “We kind of got into a lull, but then again Nativity comes at you hard.”

Marian nearly flattened the Green Wave tires after roaring through an opening 25-12 win to start the contest. However, Nativity got the tire refilled with air, and climbed back on board with a 26-24 win in set two to even things up..

“I know that you can’t be overconfident,” said Mooney. “But at the same time, we need to keep our swagger; we need to dominate when the opportunity is there, and we didn’t do that in the second set.”

If there was a kink in the Marian game, it was the number of errors it committed, which didn’t set well with Fallabel.

When asked about dominating the first set, Fallabel said, “That’s the way we should have played all night.” Then quickly pointed out the errors in the second set. “We had 15 errors, it was 14-13 and… we had serving errors, we had hitting errors.”

Despite that, the Fillies still won over a quality team.

By the third set, Marian was regrouping when it forged a 20-12 lead and never looked back riding the service shots of Kosciolek, Mooney and Agosti. Then the coup de grace was served up late in the fourth set. With the score tied at 19-19 Galasso served her team to a 24-20 lead before Nativity had an unforced error to end the contest.

“This is a tough environment to play,” said Pam Daubert the Nativity coach. “They are without a doubt the best team we’ve faced all season.”

In addition to Mooney, Marian (12-0, 11-0) got strong play from Carly Kosciolek, who turned in a terrific performance.

“We’ve have two studs on the court in Mooney and Kosciolek,” pointed out Fallabel.

Indeed they’re a pair of tough players to match up with. Kosciolek hammered out 15 kills, had five aces and a block. Mooney had another big kill night with 23 kills, five aces, 11 digs with two blocks.

But the Fillies are far from a two-person team as they had contributions up and down the lineup.

Giana Agosti continued her magical setting with 44 assists to go along with seven digs and two kills. Toss in 18 digs and five aces from Antonio Galasso and a superb defensive night from Emily Meier, who added six digs along with four aces.

That type of balance is a tough cookie to match up with.

“They’re just so tough to defend,” shrugged Daubert. “They’ve got balance and they take advantage of mistakes. That’s what makes them such a darn good volleyball team.”

CROWD PLEASERS… Crowd was one of the largest on the season and created a lot of early excitement.

SPLIT… Marian fell in the JV contest when Nativity won a close third set, 15-13.

BEST IN THE STATE ... The matchup pitted the No. 1 ranked Class A volleyball team in the state (Marian) against the No. 2 team in the state (Nativity).

Elena Beckett (left) and Alivia Karchner of Marian go up for a block during Monday’s match against Nativity. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a photo gallery from the match. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS