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Marian tops PV

ASHLAND - With the postseason now in full swing, Marian showed on Monday night that its offensive attack is dialed in.

The Fillies attacked early and often in their Schuylkill League quarterfinal matchup with Panther Valley, defeating the Panthers, 25-10, 21-25, 25-17, 25-19 to advance to the semis.

Marian set the tone from the onset in the first set and did so from the outside. Abbey Kluck and Megan Paisley led the early Fillies’ charge, combining for six kills in the first set. Marian’s passing was crisp and its hitters took advantage for a convincing 25-10 win.

“We’re in the postseason now, so we expect to be playing at this level,” said Marian head coach Maria Serina. “When our passing has been on and working, our hitters have done a nice job.

“We have some weapons, and we rely on them heavily. That’s why it’s important for every single person that passes to do their job consistently.

The Panthers displayed their fight and toughness as they bounced back in the second game. Panther Valley did shoot itself in the foot at times, but in the second it played a more consistent brand of volleyball.

The set was knotted at 10-10, before the Panthers took control with a 7-1 run and eventually went on to finish out the 25-21 victory. Abbey Vermillion came up with two kills during the run, and Natalie Vermillion added a kill and a block.

“I thought we played timid in the first set, but in the second we came out and played more aggressive,” said Panther Valley head coach Emilie Baker. “We’re a young team, so you’re going to see those ups and downs, especially in bigger games and in playoff games.

“I think we get down on ourselves too much when we make mistakes, and we have to try and move on quicker, but that’s part of our growth. We also have to eliminate the self-inflicted errors, but that will come with playing with more confidence, and as we gain more experience.”

The Panthers went into a bit of a lull in the third set and Marian took advantage, getting out to a strong 12-6 lead. Two kills from Kelly Sullivan, followed by another one from Kluck, helped extend the lead to nine as the Fillies surged ahead to capture the third set 25-17.

Panther Valley was within a few points during the early stages of the fourth set. But leading by three late in the set, Marian closed the door on the Panthers as a Charlotte Vinson kill and Megan Reaman ace made it 20-15. The Panthers would never get closer than four the rest of the way, and the match ended fittingly with kills from both Kluck and Paisley.

“I thought PV did a great job tonight,” said Serina. “Coach Baker does a good job with them, and we knew coming in that it’s going to be strong competition - like we’re going to see all postseason.

“I’m happy with how we responded. In addition to passing well, I think we did a good job up front and took advantage of our height. We attacked strong, and got a few blocks as well.”

FILLIES’ LEADERS … Paisley, Kluck and Rhiannon Brady led the way for the Fillies with seven kills apiece. Brady, a lefty was a tough matchup for the Panthers. Sullivan and Vinson added five kills each, while Reaman had 20 digs and five aces. Ashlynn Klitsch finished the night with 30 assists and 10 digs from the setter position.

TOP PANTHERS ... For Panther Valley, Vermillion had nine kills and three blocks, while Emma Dacey (21 digs) and Chloe Diekman (26 digs) both played well defensively. Sadie Trubilla added 19 assists and 13 digs.

NEXT UP … Marian (16-1) moves on to play Pottsville in the Schuylkill League semis at Martz Hall on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Panthers (12-7) will now wait for the start of the District 11 2A playoffs.