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Panther Valley sweeps Thorpe

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    Jenna Dubosky (33) and Rachelle Filer of Panther Valley try to block a hit by Jim Thorpe’s Brandy Montemuro. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published September 07. 2018 12:31PM

In a season filled with great expectations, the Panther Valley volleyball team gave a glimpse of what could be.

Sweeping rival Jim Thorpe 3-0, the veteran Panthers never disappointed en route to Thursday’s Schuylkill League sweep.

Aside from a brief hiccup in the second set, it was a vintage outing from the two-time defending District 11 Class 2A champion Panthers, who are one of the preseason favorites in both the league and district races.

The Panthers started fast in all three sets.

In the opener, they raced off with a 12-6 lead, before warding off the Olympians for a 25-22 win.

It was a carbon copy in the second set when the Panthers built what seemed like a commanding 23-13 lead, then watched Thorpe come off with a near improbable rally thanks to the serving of Brandy Montemuro.

Montemuro helped her team reel off nine-straight points before coach Filer called for a timeout. That seemed to quell the momentum, as Panther Valley tacked on the final two points for a 25-22 win.

“I just wanted to make sure we were in our right spots,” offered Filer about the timeout. “They’re a tough team to play. We know each other so well.”

Jim Thorpe coach Victoria Nichols agreed.

“We played them last season, we played them in the offseason and we knew we were evenly-matched teams,” she said.

But the critical area — according to Nichols — was allowing Panther Valley to take early leads.

“When we get fails in the service receive, it hurts us,” Nichols said. “If we didn’t struggle receiving serves and if we did a better job of keeping our feet, especially early in the sets, it would have been a better showing.”

Thorpe also had problems containing the foursome of Panther Valley players. Oliva Dacey, Jenna Dubosky, Rachelle Filer and Erika Dubosky, who were a huge headache, and the Olympians didn’t have a way to take away the pain.

“They’re hustlers. They’ll do what it takes to win,” coach Filer said about her collection of frontline standouts. “They love hitting the ball, and the balance we have up front can create as many as three different players hitting from different spots.”

In the final set, Panther Valley built a 13-9 edge thanks to two aces from Sarah Zabroski and a pair of strong spikes by Jenna Dubosky. There was a brief flurry by Thorpe to get to within 18-14, but Panther Valley countered to pull away for a 25-17 victory.

“We will be there for the next game,” said Nichols with a positive tone.

So too will be the Panthers.

TOP PANTHERS ... Jenna Dubosky (10 kills) and Erika Dubosky (nine kills) led Panther Valley at the net. Dacey added seven kills. Jenna Dubosky added 20 assists, while Zabroski had 13.

OLYMPIAN STANDOUTS ... Kelsey Carroll played well in defeat with 13 digs, 10 assists, and five kills. Brandy Montemuro had nine kills, seven digs, and six assists. Autumn Snyder had six kills and three blocks.

QUOTABLE … “I just love the way we play together,” said coach Filer. Meanwhile, Nichols said, “We’re going to be good. We just have to keep working.”

JV ACTION … The Panthers came out on top in the JV contest, 2-1.

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