CLARION — If one only look at the final score of Tuesday night’s three-set win by Clarion over visiting Redbank Valley Lady Bulldogs volleyball team, one might think it could be a long year for the Lady Bulldogs.
After all, Clarion rolled to the victory by scores of 25-9, 26-24 and 25-5.
But Redbank Valley head coach Matt Darr said that had more to do with how good the Lady Cats are than anything about his team.
“First of all, that’s by far the best Clarion team I have ever seen,” Darr said. “And, I have been coaching for quite a while. You have to consider they have been in three state finals and they won a state title. But in my opinion this is by far their best team.”
Darr said the Lady Cats speed and multiple attackers made them a tough matchup in the eerily empty gym or, really, any gym.
“We are not used to playing against a team like that,” Darr said. “You have to transition. You have to get up to blocks. You have to make swings.”
Redbank Valley wasn’t able to do any of that in the first set, nor did the Lady Bulldogs have an answer for Clarions multiple-hitter attack that saw Korrin Burns record 18 kills with Erica Selfridge adding nine.
“You don’t (defend Burns),” Darr said. “And even if you do they have hitters coming from everywhere.”
After a tough first set, Redbank Valley fought back in the second set, and, after trailing, 24-21 fought back and tied it at 24 before Clarion scored the final two points to win 26-24.
After that, it was all Clarion with the Lady Cats rolling off the final 11 points to win easily.
“When you are down 2-0 and you are down seven or eight points, you see the end coming,” Darr said. “Unfortunately, this early in the season and you haven’t played in a tight game like the second set was you sometimes kind of let it get away from you.”
Alivia Huffman led Redbank Valley with three kills, while Brynn Rearick had 10 digs.
The Lady Bulldogs host Brookville Thursday before hosting Sheffield and Forest Area next Monday and Tuesday.
In Tuesday’s other game:
At Seneca, the visiting Damsels lost a five-setter to the hosts, who grinded out a 24-26, 25-16, 25-15, 16-25, 15-13 win.
Union won the first set, then forced a fifth set with a 25-16 fourth-set win, but fell short and fell to 1-1. The Damsels host North Clarion Thursday before hosting Moniteau and Venango Catholic next Monday and Tuesday.
Against Cranberry, Dominika Logue had 12 kills and three aces while Hailey Kriebel, Maggie Minick finished with five and four respectively. Drew Davis had three kills and served nine aces. Morgan Cumberland dealt out 30 set assists.
Cranberry won the JV match in straight sets.
MONDAY, Sept. 14
At West Sunbury, the visiting Lady Bulldogs won in straight sets, 25-16, 25-9, 25-15 for their season-opening win.
Montana Hetrick finished with 10 kills and 10 service points with one ace. Brianna Minich (six), Alivia Huffman (five) and Brooke Smith (four) all contributed with kills with Smith adding three service aces.
Brooke Holben had 18 assists with 12 service points including four aces. Brynn Rearick had 18 digs and nine service points, six of them aces.
At DuBois, the visiting Damsels needed just three sets to win their opener over DuBois Central Catholic, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17.
Dominika Logue finished with six kills and four service aces while Morgan Cumberland had 12 assists. Kiera Croyle served three aces and had one kill at the net.
DCC won the junior varsity match in two sets.
It was an odd opener for head coach Corri Shumaker’s squad considering the COVID-19 restrictions on fans attending the game.
“I had girls who were not playing in the auditorium across the hall watching the live stream and our subs were socially distanced in the hallway/doorway,” Shumaker said. “Actually, it went well other than the masks and trying to talk to the girls on the court. I could see my assistant in the hallway taking stats if I needed girls. It was weird not shaking hands of high-fiving for sure and it was super-quiet during timeouts. I told my girls they needed to cheer to make up for all the parents who weren’t able to be there.”