BROCKWAY — DuBois Central Catholic used a commanding third-set win to take control of the match on its way to a 27-25, 16-25, 25-12, 25-21 victory over Brockway Thursday.
For the Lady Rovers, however, the night was about more than just the match, as they also honored the family of their former head coach Sam Maze.
Maze coached the team for one season in 2019 before passing away on June 13 after suffering a heart attack.
Prior to the match the Lady Rovers and head coach Darren Morelli presented his wife Danielle Maze and their two sons Evan and Brock with a check of $596.
The Brockway volleyball players raised the money by selling ‘We Play for Sam’ shirts, which have also served as their warmup shirts this season.
“I knew it was going to be an emotional night and that was hard to overcome in the first set,” Brockway head coach Darren Morelli said. “We got into a rhythm in the second set and some minor mistakes cost us.”
Despite the emotional start to the night, the Lady Rovers came out of the gate strong in the opening set, taking a quick 7-1 advantage.
Ciara Morelli had an ace in the early going for Brockway before a service fault got DCC its first point of the night and brought the score to 2-1.
A kill by Mackenzie Webster followed by four straight service points by Zoe Moore, including an ace, gave the home side the six-point advantage.
The Lady Cardinals battled back, tying the set on multiple occasions at nine, 12, 14 and 17, but were not able to take the lead after any of those ties.
DuBois Central Catholic eventually took its first lead of the night at 22-21 after a three-point service run by Alyssa Johnston.
The Lady Rovers responded as a kill from Stephanie Stage and a pair of service points by Alexis Gorham gave them set-point at 24-22, forcing a DCC timeout.
A service fault out of the timeout kept DCC alive, as it fought off back-to-back set points before surviving another at 25-24.
With the set tied at 25, a pair of service points from Webster gave the Lady Cardinals the 27-25 opening set win, as the final score of the set proved to be the visitors lone two-point advantage in the set.
Brockway responded with a strong second set to even the match, as it led from start to finish and was sparked by a six-point run at the service line from Morelli, a run that included four aces.
Later in the set, a three-point run by Moore helped the Lady Rovers continue to pull away on their way to the 25-16 set win.
Moore finished with a match-high 15 service points, while Morelli added 13 points at the line along with a match-leading six aces.
With the match even at one set apiece, the pivotal third set saw DCC grab control right from the start, as Morgan Tyler rattled off nine consecutive service points behind three aces to open the set.
The Lady Cardinals never looked back, as a three-point run by Erin Maloney, started with a Jessy Frank kill and capped by a Faith Jacob block, finished off the 25-12 set win to give DCC a 2-1 set advantage.
“I felt like everything swayed in that third set and the girls had a lot of confidence after that,” DCC head coach Ted Fitzer said. “It felt good, the girls felt they could when this one and they came out and did it.”
The fourth set was much more tightly contested, as the teams traded momentum back-and-forth before the visitors eventually finished off the four-set win with a 25-21 victory.
Webster used a kill and a two-point service run that included an ace and a Mikayla Grieneisen and an ace to put Brockway up 16-15 late in the set.
The lead proved to be the final one of the night for the hosts, as a side out and two service points from Jacob coupled with the Lady Rovers being caught lining up wrong on a serve, helped give DCC a 19-16 edge.
Brockway’s last gasp came on a two-point service run from Savannah Ross aided by a kill from Stage to cut the deficit to 21-20.
A pair of kills from Tyler down the stretch helped DCC finish off the 25-21 win to close out the match in four sets.
Tyler finished with three kills along with a team-best 12 service points, while Johnson added 11 points at the service line and Madison Hoyt led the Lady Cardinals with four kills.
“The third set is always so important when it’s one to one, we got in a bad rotation on our serve receive and we just couldn’t get out of it,” Morelli said.
Both teams return to the court Monday at home, as Brockway hosts Curwensville, while DCC welcomes Clearfield.