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Bald Eagle moves on, Eagles top Bellefonte

By Kenny Varner

WINGATE – Back to familiar territory. The Bald Eagle Area volleyball team pencilled their name into the championship list as they defeated rival Bellefonte in the District 6 Semi finals at the Eagles’ home gym.

Despite a spirited effort by the young Lady Raiders, it would be the Eagles that came out on top Monday winning in three (25-17, 25-12, 25-12).

It was a strong effort by the home team as its front line proved to be too much as they were able to find the openings in the Bellefonte defense, closing out all three games after close starts.

“I was really proud of how they played. We started off a little slow but then we started clicking things just started to work,” said Bald Eagle Area Zach Rote. “The girls played tough. They’re focused and ready to go for the next step which is obviously is Wednesday in the district finals.”

Bellefonte got some strong performances by Keira Clarkson, Grace Novitsky and Carlee Pepperman. All three were tough at the front row.

“Bald Eagle’s a great team. They are very well rounded,” said Bellefonte coach Monica Smith. “They were just better than us tonight.”

In the first match, the two went head-to-head to start things off.

It was a back-and-forth contest as the two found themselves tied at 10. Bellefonte got service points from Pepperman (2), Grace Novitsky and Ella Novitsky.

Bald Eagle got strong plays at the front line by Leah Bryan with two cross court slams in the run as well.

Tied at 10, Bellefonte took the lead thanks to two consecutive service points by Aubrey Schreppel, giving the Red Raiders a 12-10 lead.

But both teams continued to mirror each other until both tallied 14.

Bald Eagle then extended a lead thanks to three consecutive service points by Olivia Boone.

Holding a 17-14 advantage, the teams exchanged side outs.

Bald Eagle continued to add to its lead thanks three more consecutive points by server Gabrielle Perry, putting the Eagles in the drivers seat in the opener, 21-15.

From there, the Eagles outscored the Red Raiders 4-to-2 en route to the game one victory.

In the second game, the Lady Eagles took things and ran with it building an early jumping out to a 7-2 lead. Picking up service points in the early run was Perry (3) and an ace by Taylor.

But Bellefonte would not go away without a fight, cutting the lead to 10-7.

Leading the run was Schreppel with two service points and three front row slams by Grace Novitsky.

Like they have for much of the 2023 season, the Eagles would stop their opponents momentum and kick starts their own tempo into the contest.

Nora Eppley posted three consecutive service points, giving the Eagles a 14-7 advantage.

Taylor, who was automatic from the service line kept the advantage to her team’s side picking up two more points, 18-8.

Down the wire, the contest belonged Bald Eagle Area as they outscored the Lady Raiders 7-4 to take game two.

Rounding things out in the third game, the Eagles dominated late as Taylor highlighted things posting 10 consecutive service points en route to a second 25-12 victory.

“When you’re playing your best game in theory you want it to carry over into the first set of the next game,” said Rote. “So hopefully, that’s the we come out in set one against Hollidaysburg.”

The Eagles will try to take its next step in the post season as they will battle Hollidaysburg Wednesday at Tyrone for the District 6 title.

Bald Eagle Area 3, Bellefonte 0

BEL  17  12 12

BEA 25 25 25

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