Panther Valley sweeps Lehighton
Madison Heckman (30) of Panther Valley attempts to get the ball past Lehighton’s Hailey Miller. At left is the Indians’ Danielle Miller. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Panther Valley’s fine-tuned volleyball team keeps purring along.
Like a posh stretch limousine with all the bells and whistles and plenty of comforts to make it an elegant ride, the Panthers continue to cruise past Schuylkill League opponents.
So far, the Panthers (7-0) are untouchable after taking down Lehighton in straight sets, 25-6, 25-13 and 25-19 on Tuesday. The victory included a third set that featured prominent roles for the Panther reserves
It was a memorable evening for PV standout junior middle hitter Erika Dubosky, who fired up her 500th career kill without even realizing that she was on the cusp of the milestone.
“I was totally surprised,” Dubosky said. “I like to make it fun, and we didn’t tell her that she needed only six kills,” said Panther Valley coach Emilie Baker in her first-year at the helm after several years at Tamaqua.
It definitely has been fun so far for the Panthers in their bid to defend their Schuylkill League title, which surely will have potential pitfalls starting tomorrow in Pottsville and with a huge clash with Blue Mountain next week.
The way Panther Valley has started the season, another league trophy and even more success beyond looks very possible — if not probable.
A huge reason for the Panther optimism is the play of Erika, and her older sister, Jenna Dubosky.
“You can build a franchise around those two,” said Lehighton coach TJ O’Connor. “They’re so tough on the serve and in all aspects of the game.
“But it’s not a two-person team. They have a lot of great athletes and kids who can play the game.”
Meanwhile, there were lows and a few highs for the Indians.
O’Connor liked the way Danielle Miller and Megan Aaron strung together some offense in the third set.
It was clear at the outset the Panthers were in control as they drove the posh vehicle out of the showroom, hitting top speed early as they surrendered just six points in the opening win. PV nearly duplicated that domination in the second set, jumping out to a 20-9 lead on the way to the victory.
The Indians took a 5-0 lead in the third set, before Panther Valley roared back to tie it at 12-12 and eventually build a 21-14 lead on its way to the sweep.
“I have a very good group of girls that work very hard,” said Baker not letting her team wallow in their preseason hype. “There are a lot of challenges out there, and some really good teams to play. We need the leadership and to stay focused.”
GETTING THE NOD … Baker praised the play of senior Lyddia Malaska. “She really didn’t get much of a chance to play last year, but she’s a really good player who is going to be a big part of the team as we go further,” Baker said.
KUDOS, KUDOS, KUDOS … The Panthers also got quality play from Oliva Dacey, Alexis Cooper, Madison Heckman, as well as the always-steady Sadie Trubilla and Gianna Steber.
CRANKING IT UP … The Dubosky girls’ have a very tough serve. They both toss the ball high in the air and use their momentum to add power. It’s a serve that can cause the opposing team major problems.
LET US COUNT THE WAYS … Erika Dubosky had 15 kills, seven aces and two blocks; Heckman had 11 assists and four kills; and Jenna Dubosky had three aces, four kills and five blocks.