grade book by taking a 25-15, 25-23 and 26-24 win over Reedsville
Eastern at Lancaster High School Thursday evening.
LANCASTER – Getting a 2-0 lead. Good.
Working out of a game point hole with five points to sweep a Division IV regional semifinal match. Brilliant.
Berlin Hiland earned a check mark in coach Jessica Schwartz’s grade book by taking a 25-15, 25-23 and 26-24 win over Reedsville Eastern at Lancaster High School Thursday evening.
“We decided in game three that we would do it and preserver,” Schwartz said. “I called a timeout when it was 15-19 and said, ‘Listen, you are totally capable of winning this game. You have to preserver. They are going to play better and be after it, and you have to rise to the occasion and respond.”
Down two games, Eastern (23-3) didn’t back down with its season hanging by a thread. The Lady Eagles built a lead of 17-13 and eventually earned a game point after a kill from Tresa Swatzel made it 24-21.
That’s when the Lady Hawks went to work.
Jena Stutzman served four-straight points, including an ace. Megan Yoder added a kill during the stretch, and an Eastern attack in the net gave Hiland match point and a berth to the regional championship game Saturday at noon against Newark Catholic.
“I was pretty comfortable and I thought we could do it,” Yoder said. “Even though they made a run, we still had the momentum up 2-0 and I was confident. It was just a matter of getting after it in the back row.”
The Eastern comeback attempt in the third game was led by Swatzel, who finished the match with 19 kills and five blocks. Katie Hayman chipped in 11 kills and five blocks, while Katie Wilfong had four kills.
Eastern began to show its potential in the latter half of the second game. Down 17-7, the Lady Eagles put together a 12-4 run that brought them to within two of Hiland. The Lady Hawk lead proved to be too much gain any more ground against, putting the Lady Eagles into a two-game hole. Eastern played even with Hiland in the early portions of the third game until they put together a 13-7 run to take a five-point lead.
“That’s the way we’ve played all year long,” Eastern coach Howie Caldwell said of the game three run. “We feed off of each other’s emotions.
“If one makes a nice play, another one makes a nice play. What happened tonight was we fed off of each other’s negative energy instead of feeding off positive energy.”
Caldwell was also quick to point out the overall accomplishment of the Eastern team.
“These kids won 23 games, and last year’s club that went 25-1 lost five seniors off that club,” he said. “This club overachieved, it really did.”
Hiland started the night off well, putting together runs of 7-2 and 4-0 to earn a seven-point lead in the opening game. Stutzman started the second surge with a kill, and then served three straight points, including an ace.
A block from Yoder closed out the first game.
Back to back aces from Janelle Miller started Hiland (23-4) off in the second game.
After Eastern closed to within 8-5, Hiland went on a 9-2 run, paced by two kills and a block by Janelle Miller, to take a 17-7 lead.
Yoder posted monster statistics of 11 blocks, 14 digs and eight kills. Lauren Hershberger had 22 assists and Jill Martin scored 10 points, three aces and had nine kills.
“I tried to watch where (Swatzel) was on the right side, because I knew she was a lefty and I was just trying to get my hands on it,” Yoder said.
Hiland now takes on a Newark Catholic team that defeated Portsmouth Clay 25-25, 25-14 and 25-13 in the first game.
“If we don’t show up and we don’t play our A + game, it is going to be a quick night,” Schwartz said. “We’re capable of it. We were down 15-19 and 21-24 and we won. My younger girls are getting experience and learning what to do and when to do it.”