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Lady Chucks take care of Lady Raiders on Senior Night

October 17, 2013

The senior members of the Punxsutawney Area High School girls' volleyball team and their families were recognized on Senior Night. They are (front, from left) statistician Jayden Welder, Bella Gallina, Ashley Reitz, Emily Reitz, Sydney Phillips, Emilee States, Taylor Newcome; (back) Jody Cary, KC Gallina, Melissa Gallina, Peg Reitz, Rod Phillips, Jackie Phillips, Curt States, Angie States, Donna Newcome and Steve Newcome. Photo courtesy of Andrew Tygert

UNXSUTAWNEY — On Thursday night, the Lady Chucks' volleyball team hosted the Lady Raiders of Brookville for their Senior Night.

With their rival in town, and their seniors being honored, the best case scenario for the Lady Chucks would be a three-game shut out of the Lady Raiders.

While they were unable to complete that unreachable task, they did the next best thing.

Punxsy sent off its seniors with a three-game sweep, outscoring the Lady Raiders 75-21 (25-5, 25-10, 25-6) en route to victory.

"No, I can't think of a better way to send them off," head coach Heather Good said. "They played well again (tonight), and played as a team."

As expected, when the names of the six seniors — Bella Gallina, Taylor Newcome, Sydney Phillips, Emilee States, Emily Reitz and Ashley Reitz — were announced, you could see the emotions that they had in their final regular season home game.

"They were emotional. They definitely were," Good said. "In the play, they're fine, but once the play is over, they got it (emotions) a little bit. They were able to pull through. They played well, and I'm so proud of them. It was a great way to go out on their home court."

Good has been around the program for a while, as her mother, Lisa, is a former Punxsy volleyball coach, and she played four years in the program.

Although it's just her second year manning the ship as the head coach, she knows the impact this group of seniors has had on the program.

"This is a really great group. I'm only a second-year coach, so I've only gotten to work with them for the past two years," Good said. "I feel like all six of them have been with it every step of the way. They work hard, and they are dedicated to the sport."

During the course of any game, you can hear the girls from the bench cheering on their teammates.

The six seniors have taken the undergraduate girls under their wings, and have showed them the ropes of the program.

"Yeah, I think they've had a really good influence on the undergrads," Good said. "They showed them the work ethic, dedication and how a team can function."

Getting back to the game, the Lady Chucks' serve receive was once again top-notch.

Brookville was only able to win five of their own serves over the course of the three-game sweep, and had just one back-to-back serve.

"We had a strong serve receive, and our passes were on," Good said. "We were able to do a couple of things at the net. That was really great to see. Our defense was able to pick up stuff anywhere on the court. We have a lot of quick defensive players, and they were able to get anywhere that they needed to be on the court."

Arguably the most exciting part of the match came in the third set.

Ivy Phillips was serving for Punxsy, and had eight aces on 10 of her serves, including, seven in a row at one point.

"It was amazing," Good said. "We had a great night."

Phillips finished with 10 aces overall.

Cleaning up at the net were Newcome and Hailey Brady, as they had seven and six kills respectively.

After a big win at home, the icing on the cake for the Lady Chucks would be to win the District IX Title.

Is that something you're looking foward to, coach?

"Definitely, that would be. From day one of our season, that's been the ultimate goal," Good said. "We do, however, have a couple games in our regular season left, so we need to make it to that game. We need to play those games with everything we have."

Before the varsity contest, the JV Lady Chucks took care of business, completing a two-game sweep of the Lady Raiders, 25-8, 25-8.

"All of the girls played fantastic tonight," assistant coach Andrew Tygert said. "Tessa Winebark had an amazing game with seven aces, and Taylor Cary four kills, while Alli Lunger had seven kills to lead the
team."

Tygert also said that Kassi Niver had a great game passing the ball.

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