Bounce-back win for Punxsy over Union

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Lady Chucks volleyball team defeated Union Monday night in Punxsutawney behind strong serving — six different girls recorded an ace — and good attacks at the net.

Punxsy started the first game a bit sluggish, falling behind in the early stages and trailing 8-13 before using a timeout to turn the momentum.

After the timeout, Punxsy benefited from two separate three-point rallies by Chelsea Engeholm and Sydney Weaver — who recorded two aces in her mini-streak — to tie the score at 16.

Brooke Doney recorded three consecutive aces to give Punxsy the lead again, and the Lady Chucks never looked back.

Game No. 1 ended with a three-point rally with Shayla Brink, which included one kill by Weaver and two by Taylor Newcome to finish off Union and give Punxsy the one-game lead.

"We started out a little slow in the first game, but by the end, when we needed to pick it up, we did," Punxsy head coach Lisa Kephart said after the match. "We were also adjusting a bit, because we used a bit of different positioning."

Punxsy came out firing in Game No. 2, scoring eight unanswered points at the hand of Cassie Cook's serve. During the eight-point tear, Cook had two aces and Weaver and Newcome had two kills each.

After that, the teams exchanged points until Engeholm ripped off five service points in a row to give Punxsy a comfortable 19-5 lead.

Emily Reitz capped off the game with a nice diving play to push the ball over the net on game point, giving Punxsy the 25-10 win in the game and two game lead in the set.

"We had excellent serving and good hitting from our middle hitters in the second game," Kephart said. "Sydney and Shayla, who doesn't usually play middle hitter, did well for us."

Punxsy needed just one more game to win the match, and Union made the Lady Chucks work for it in the third game, but Punxsy came out on top with a 25-23 win highlighted by three kills by Brink and Weaver.

"The other team picked it up a little bit in the third game, but we expected that," Kephart said. "We defended well, but we did have a few errors. All in all, though, we played well as a team."

The Lady Chucks travel to Brookville tonight for their next contest.

In the junior varsity game, Punxsy fell in three hard-fought games to Union, 25-22, 10-25, 15-6.

In game one, the Lady Chucks started slow, not responding to Union's hits.

The Lady Chucks bounced back and even took the lead, but they were unable to hold on, and Union took the first, 25-22.

Punxsy head coach Megan Decker said Game No. 2 was "a completely different ball game."

"We dominated," she said. "Maddy Neal had three kills, while Ivy Phillips had three aces. Our defense was more aware and did a much better job of covering the court."

In the decisive third game, Union came out swinging, and Decker said her squad "just couldn't find the momentum we had in the second game."

Despite the loss, Decker said her girls are prepared to move on tonight at Brookville.

"We're going to put this game behind us. We'll keep fighting and playing our game," she said.