New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
It takes a lot of lessons learned in order to become an elite program in any sport.
Last night, the Neshannock High girls volleyball team got a first-hand experience at what is required to play at the highest level in a WPIAL Class A first-round playoff defeat at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
After dropping the first two games (25-10, 25-12), the Lady Lancers gained some confidence and topped the Lady Chargers (25-23) in the third game. However, OLSH posted a 25-12 victory in the fourth game to claim the match.
“That’s a very good team. We will never see a team like that in our section. We won’t see a middle attack like that. I am proud we took a game away from them,” Neshannock coach Andrew Frank said. “I am glad they got to see what it’s like. I am glad we got to this round to get that experience. That’s the biggest thing for me. We’re building for the coming years.”
The second-seeded Lady Chargers (16-0) meet seventh-seeded Serra Catholic on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined in a quarterfinal match.
“It’s nice to move on. I give them a lot of credit because it’s their first time in the playoffs for a while. Andrew has done a nice job with them,” OLSH coach Mike McDonald said. “They came down and won a very big five-game preliminary round match (on Tuesday). It’s exciting to move into the next round. It’s tough to come down here against a higher-seeded team.”
Junior 6-foot hitters Lexie Yoho and Kristi Chenarides proved to be a formidable pair for OLSH. They dominated when they were on the court and helped the Lady Chargers cruise to the win in the first game.
Frank substituted regularly, especially in the second game, to get his young Lady Lancers (11-7) a taste of what it was like to defend rockets coming from Yoho and Chenarides.
“In the second game, I tried to get some of the younger kids into the game to get a feel for what it’s like having some of those balls whizzing past your head. Nobody hits that way in our section, not as fast, hard and consistent. When you have big girls like that, it’s a huge plus. They need to see that. This program needs to evolve,” Frank said. “I got everyone in the game and hopefully we’ll be back here next year.”
The Lady Chargers rested their two big guns for most of the third game and 15th-seeded Neshannock took advantage to post the 25-23 win.
“When they took the third game, it looked like they gained a little momentum and looked like they dug the ball better after that and made it more of a challenge for us,” McDonald said. “They got some momentum in the third game because we tried some stuff. To their credit, they played a little better.”
Frank was thrilled to see his team rally for that win.
“I am glad they took a game from them. That shows a lot for the younger kids that they can do it,” he said. “I think it was a good learning experience.”
The Lady Chargers had a full lineup for the fourth game and the Lady Lancers hung with them and trailed 10-9 at one point. However, OLSH rattled off an 11-1 run to take command.
“The girls played well under adversity,” Frank said. “I am very proud of them.”