PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Behind strong serving â€” with a total of 19 aces over three games â€” the Lady Chucks volleyball team swept Brockway, 3-0, to earn its first regular season win.
Punxsy's Janie Depp-Hutchinson led the team with seven aces, including five in the first game, and Sydney Weaver added six aces for Punxsy.
"I think one of our strengths as a team is serving," head coach Lisa Kephart said. "We have a lot of great servers throughout the rotation. They do well, and when they serve it hard and get it in, they're usually hard to defend."
Punxsy and Brockway exchanged serves for the first six points of the first game, but Weaver came up with a big block to force a side out, and Depp-Hutchinson scored seven consecutive points on her serve to push the Lady Chucks' lead to 10-3.
Brockway rallied and pulled within one point at 14-13, but after winning a long back-and-forth volley, Punxsy put the Lady Rovers in its rear view mirror for the rest of the match on another seven-point scoring streak.
Brockway earned service back with a chance to rally at 23-18, but setter Cassie Cook bumped a cross-court back set to Weaver for the kill, and Punxsy finished the game, 25-18.
Punxsy ran out to a lead with a four-point rally after another 3-3 start and never looked back, going on to win the second game 25-18, as well.
The only Brockway rally pushed the game to 9-8, but a double block by Punxsy's front line put an end to the streak, and the Lady Chucks cruised from there.
In game No. 3, Punxsy trailed early, unable to tie the contest until 7-7. Weaver went on a three-point streak, including two aces, and Punxsy went on to win the third game by the same score as the first two, 25-18.
Kephart was glad to see her team working together, as cohesiveness was one of the concerns entering the season with such a young, inexperienced squad on the varsity level.
"We played much better as a team," she said. "We worked together, picked up the ball and covered for each other hitting- and blocking-wise."
Punxsy also rotated a few new girls who hadn't seen any varsity action yet into the lineup Thursday.
"We had some different positions moved around tonight, so we had a lot of sophomores in to play varsity. That was fun for them, and it was a good chance to get some experience at that level at a younger age."
Punxsy's next contest will be Tuesday at DuBois.
"We know that DuBois is a tough team," Kephart said. "So, we need to keep working hard in practice and hustling on coverage."
The junior varsity Lady Chucks also defeated Brock- way Thursday night, two games to one.
According to coach Megan Decker, the girls played the fundamentals â€” passing, setting and killing â€” well in the first game, winning 25-15.
"Nicole DiPietro, Haley Brady and Jensen Constantino played great at the net," she said. "The hits were great due to Ashley Reitz's sets."
The JV squad also took after the varsity squad in that the girls served well.
"Our serves were strong with a total of seven aces in the first game," Decker said. "We looked like a team and really showed how well we can play."
Punxsy faltered a bit in the second game, though, falling 25-18.
"We started off with a strong lead," Decker said. "Ivy Phillips had three aces, while Alyssa Reitz had two, but we lost the momentum and let Brockway come back and win."
In the always nerve-wracking third game, Punxsy won comfortably, 25-15, to win the set and improve to 2-0 on the season.
"Our hitting was back on track for game No. 3," Decker said. "We had great serves, and we fought for this win."View more articles in: