NEW BETHLEHEM — It’s not often a volleyball game changes in the first set, but that is exactly what happened in Redbank Valley’s 3-0 victory over visiting Union Tuesday night.
In an interesting turn of events, Union went from winning the first set, 26-24, to losing it 28-26.
The Golden Damsels (9-6) had rallied from a 23-21 deficit to take a 25-24 lead following a hitting error by Redbank Valley’s Alivia Huffman.
At that point, a rally ensued that ended with the ball on the arm of Huffman, whose hit went long. Both officials singled it was Union’s point and therefore the Golden Damsels set.
Redbank Valley (8-3) players lobbied that the ball was tipped at the net by either Kya Wetzel or Hailey Kriebel or both.
At first, the chair official didn’t seem to buy the lobbying but then he called the floor official over.
After a discussion, it was decided to replay the point.
This time, Huffman’s kill was good and it was tied at 25, and Redbank Valley then took a 26-25 lead on a hitting error by Dominika Logue.
A service error by Makayla Monrean tied it back at 26, but Huffman came up big with another kill to make it 27-26, and when Logue and Allie Conner had a communication error on who was going to play the ball the Lady Bulldogs had the 28-26 set victory.
“That was a big play for us to get that replayed,” Redbank Valley head coach Ashley Anderson said. “We’ve been working on how calls go your way and how calls don’t and to use it to your advantage. I think they really stepped up and did that tonight. Even though that was called in our favor, they treated it like it wasn’t.”
Union head coach Corri Shumaker thought that was the turning point in the match.
“I think it’s rough,” Shumaker said. “We talked about it in the locker room. If we had won that first set … it just totally changed from the excitement. It just went downhill after that. I feel like if we could have pulled that first set out, we could have come a lot closer, anyway.”
Despite the downer from the first-set loss, Union played well in the second set and led 19-16 before allowing Redbank Valley to rally to win, 25-22.
Union was in the set because of strong serving that saw the Golden Damsels record nine aces in the set, including three each from Kriebel and Kennedy Vogle.
“They have some good drop serves,” Anderson said. “Our girls just weren’t getting under the ball. A drop serve is hard to show in practice. It is not a game-like situation. It’s definitely something we haven’t seen a lot of.”
For the match, Union had 16 aces including four each from Kriebel and Logue and three from Vogel.
“It comes and goes,” Shumaker said of her team’s serving. “It is very inconsistent. When they’re on, they’re on. When they’re not, they’re not. It’s how it has been all season long.”
The third set was tight with the score tied at 14 before Redbank Valley finished off the set and the match on an 11-1 run.
“I thought from the very beginning the girls played really well,” Anderson said. “Those close games are fun. I think when they’re that close it keeps them upbeat, too.”
Huffman led Redbank Valley with six kills and six digs with Monrean adding four kills.
Caylen Rearick paced the Lady Bulldogs’ defense with 15 digs with Abby Young adding 10 digs, and Lilly Shaffer ran the offense with 15 set assists.
Logue paced Union with seven kills and four aces with Kriebel adding two kills and three aces.
Vogel had eight digs, and Croyle added 10 set assists.
Lady Bulldogs visit Cranberry Thursday before visiting Forest and Karns City Monday and Tuesday. Next Wednesday, they host Clarion
The Damsels host Karns City Thursday, and North Clarion and Clarion next Monday and Tuesday.
In other games:
MONDAY, Oct. 11
Lady Bulldogs sweep OC
At Oil City, the visiting Lady Bulldogs won in four sets, 25-10, 25-14, 21-25, 25-9.
Alivia Huffman turned in 13 kills and three aces while Lilly Shaffer ran the offense with 22 assists along with five aces. Caylen Rearick had 16 digs and three aces.
Also at the net, Carlie Rupp and Taylor Ripple each had five kills.
Damsels sweep Forest
At Forest, the Damsels won in straight sets, 25-11, 25-15, 25-3.
Hailey Kriebel led the way with eight service aces and three kills. Grace Kindel had six aces and two kills and Keira Croyle had six aces and seven assists. Dominika Logue finished with four kills.
THURSDAY, Oct. 7
Lady Bulldogs top
Moniteau in four
At Moniteau, the Lady Bulldogs dropped the first set, but rallied for a four-set win on the road, 24-26, 25-5, 25-20, 26-24.
Alivia Huffman had a big night at the net with 21 kills while Makayla Monrean and Taylor Ripple contributed to the attack with 12 and nine kills respectively.
Caylen Rearick finished with 20 digs while Carlie Rupp had 11. Lilly Shaffer finished with 43 assists.
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6
At home against Venango Catholic, the Damsels also swept, 25-14, 25-20, 25-12.
Dominika Logue was active with 10 kills and eight digs. Taylor Shick and Hailey Kriebel each had five kills with Kriebel serving three aces. Kya Wetzel added three kill while Kennedy Vogle had 11 digs. Keira Croyle turned in 10 assists with two kills and Grace Kindel finished with seven assists and served four aces.