PUNXSUTAWNEY — The DuBois volleyball team saw their season come to an end with a 25-16, 25-21, 25-19 defeat at the hands of WPIAL runner-up Thomas Jefferson in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A playoffs at Punxsutawney Area High School Tuesday.
The Lady Beavers jumped out to an advantage to open each of the three sets, but were hurt by mistakes throughout the match and were unable to pick up a single set victory.
“We just made so many unforced errors that we haven’t made all season,” DuBois head coach Jason Gustafson said. “I think the nerves got to the girls a little bit right away.”
The head coach added that his team fought hard throughout the match against a good opponent, but felt his team hurt their own chances of winning.
“I don’t think they beat us, I think we beat ourselves in a lot of ways,” Gustafson said.
DuBois opened the first set with a 2-0 advantage on a pair of service points from Kaylee Sadowski, helped by a block by Taylor Smith.
Smith led DuBois with 11 service points and added a pair of aces and kills to go along with the block.
The Lady Jaguars responded with a 10-2 run to take command of the opening set at 10-4, as the run was helped in large part by Tyler Turk.
The Thomas Jefferson junior had two blocks, two kills and a run of five straight service points which included an ace during the run.
Kaitlyn Urbanowicz added a pair of kills during Turk’s service run to help give the Lady Jaguars control of the first set.
Despite numerous attempts by the Lady Beavers to get back into the set, every advance was turned away by Thomas Jefferson, who never let DuBois within four points of the lead the remainder of the set.
Back-to-back service points by Urbanowicz, the second of which coming on an ace, finished off the 25-16 opening set victory for the Lady Jaguars.
The Lady Beavers came out strong in the second set looking to even the match at one set apiece.
A run of five straight service points from Smith gave DuBois a 6-1 advantage in the early going, as the run was aided by a pair of kills by Hoffer and a block from Sydney Kaschalk.
The five-point run was the only service run of five points or longer in the entire match for DuBois, while Thomas Jefferson had three such runs.
“Our goal was to locate our serves and stay away from their libero (Sydney Moran),” Gustafson said. “We didn’t do a good job of that and we’re putting them right into their offense when we can’t keep the ball away from her.”
Hoffer finished with a match-high 11 kills and added three service points for the Lady Beavers.
A pair of service points from Cate Gregory stretched the Lady Beavers’ lead to 9-3 in the early going of the second set, but that is when Thomas Jefferson began to battle back.
After a kill by Urbanowicz cut DuBois’ lead to 12-9, the senior libero headed to the service line for the Lady Jaguars.
Urbanowicz then rattled off the longest service run of the night for either side, winning eight straight points to give Thomas Jefferson a 17-12 advantage.
A kill by Sadowski brought the serve back to DuBois’ side of the court, as the junior responded with three service points in a row to cut the deficit to 17-16.
Sadowski finished the match with three kills and five service points for the Lady Beavers.
The two sides went back-and-forth down the stretch of the second set, but in the end it was a kill by Natasha Yanief that secured the 25-21 victory for the Lady Jaguars, giving them a 2-0 set advantage.
DuBois once again took the early lead in the third set, as they led 9-6 in the early going as they looked to stay alive and send the match into a fourth set.
However, just like in the second set a long service run gave the momentum back to the Lady Jaguars, as a run of five straight service points gave Thomas Jefferson a 12-9 advantage.
The set remained neck-and-neck throughout the next several points, as Thomas Jefferson found themselves with a 15-14 advantage at the midway point of the set.
After a sideout gave DuBois the serve, the Lady Beavers looked to take control of the set, but were unable as a service fault sent the serve back over to the Lady Jaguars.
A run of three service points by Julia Fiedor gave Thomas Jefferson a 19-14 advantage, which they would not relinquish the remainder of the set.
DuBois battled back to cut the deficit to as low as two at 20-18 late in the set, but the Lady Jaguars held on, as a Turk kill secured the 25-19 victory to close out the sweep.
Turk finished the match with eight kills, seven service points and a pair of blocks for Thomas Jefferson.
Urbanowicz led the team with 12 service points and added six kills, while Abigail Chalovich added nine service points.
Ashleigh Haines and Yanief each added six kills in the victory for the Lady Jaguars.
“You can point to a few things we did well, but you can point to as many things that we could’ve done a lot better,” Gustafson said.
The head coach said the team played beyond his exceptions throughout the season on their way to a second-straight District 9 title.
“There’s nothing for them to be ashamed of,” Gustafson said. “It was a great season overall.”
The match was the final one for DuBois seniors Hoffer, Abby Lecker and Lexi Smith.
Gustafson noted that Hoffer is one of the most dedicated players he has ever coached, and the dedication of the three seniors will help the team for years to come.
“We’ll miss them, just like you miss every group before that,” Gustafson said. “They’ve created a culture on our team and raised expectations.”