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Battle for the Mountain League; PO volleyball survives back-and-forth battle with BEA

Photos by Tim Weight
By Kenny Varner

WINGATE – The Bald Eagle Area volleyball team was looking for a little revenge Thursday night as it went up against Philipsburg-Osceola.

On October 6th, the Lady Mounties ruined the Eagles Mountain League record of 82 league wins.

Not only were they looking for a little payback for the loss but also at stake was a share of the MountainLeague title that the Lady Eagles have had their grasp on for sometime.

Thursday it was at the Bald Eagles’ home court with also a chance to split the season series as well.

It would be an epic battle between the two with a night of long volleys , momentum changes and numerous game winning plays by both sides.

But when the dust settled, Philipsburg -Osceola would come out with its hands raised winning 25-23, 27-25 and 25-22.

“We didn’t score as many as they did by seven. That’s a good team (Philipsburg-Osceola). I can’t question are effort tonight. I thought defensively we did a good job. We just didn’t have that kid to put the ball away,” said Bald Eagle Area Coach Larry Campbell. “We are at 25-23, 27-25 and 25-22. When you look at that it’s difference of a conversion.  You make a great dig and put that ball away and can you put that ball away. But often times  we got a little soft, they dug it and Hazelton out it away and that’s a 2-point swing between winning and losing.”

With the win, the Mounties captured the Mountain League championship.

But the match was one that was never one-sided as the biggest lead either team had was four points through the three sets.

Each game was close to the bitter end with long volleys being a constant throughout as both teams were focused, leaving everything they had on the court.

Philipsburg- Osceola’s offensive attack was led by freshman phenom outside hitter Reese Hazelton. Hazelton had a strong attack posting numerous spikes and blasts at the heart of the Bald Eagle defense.

The Eagles were able to contain her at times but in big moments Hazelton came up huge for the Mounties.

In the first game, Bald Eagle held an advantage at 18-16 an early battle at the net.

It was a back and forth contest with four lead changes through the match.

The Eagles upped its lead to 20-16 on service points from Sydney Hill.

However, the Mounties battled back going on a 5-0 run on service points by London Cutler. Highlighting the run was a spike and a drop shot by Hazelton.

Holding a 21-20 advantage, the two would exchange side outs six times.

With the 24-23 advantage, Janey Johnson notched the winning service point, giving her team the victory.

Things proved to be just as competitive in the second game.

Tied at 19, the Eagles were on a 3-0 run on service points by Hill, forcing the Mounties to call a time out.

But the Mounties took back the lead on a side out and a service point by Cutler on an ace.

As the game came down to  25-25 , Hazelton put the game on ice, posting a spike and a dink, giving them the 2-Point victory.

Going into the final match, the two continued to go at it “tooth and nail”, and much like in the second game Hazelton sealed the win with two consecutive spikes.

Bald Eagle had strong performances from Claire Andrews, Lexi Skripek, Elyssa Greene and Sydney Hill.

Despite the loss, the Eagles will be the number two seed in the District 6 playoffs and will play on Wednesday at home.

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