Punxsy volleyball celebrate 'holding the rope' to a DIX title

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Most athletic teams take on a theme to their seasons, but the majority of the time they are left unfulfilled.

The Punxsy Lady Chucks volleyball did not let its "Holding the Rope" theme go by the way side but applied it and made it become a reality with the District IX AA championship to its credit.

The Lady Chucks celebrated their many successes and optimisms of the future on Sunday night at the New Anchor Inn in Punxsy at their season banquet.

"We set a goal for the district championship. We worked as a team to get there and accomplish it, and we did," said Punxsy head coach Heather Good to a full banquet room.

Punxsy rattled off a 15-6 overall season mark and went into the district playoffs as the second seed.

After sweeping Clearfield in the semifinals, the Lady Chucks tipped past the Lady Owls of Bradford in a five-set marathon to capture the program's seventh title in eight years to take the championship back to Punxsy following a one-year absence.

The driving forces behind the district crown were the biggest honorees of the evening in the three seniors and tri-captains Sydney Weaver, Chelsea Engeholm and Shayla Brink.

"All three came at the start of (volleyball) camp with a real fire to reclaim the District IX title," explained Good. "They are an incredible group of young women, and (I) want to thank you girls for an amazing season."

The District IX co-MVP, Weaver earned the statistical team awards for most kills (246), most blocks (72) and most digs (296) on the squad.
"Sydney is a fantastic all-around volleyball player," said the Lady Chucks coach. "She is a player you can rely on for anything. Her leadership is unquestioned."

Defensive specialist/libero Engeholm earned All-District IX honors as well.

"Chelsea does a fantastic job passing and playing defense.

"She was able to transition to the libero position in the middle of the year with grace," noted Good. "Her endurance, stamina and heart will be missed."

Brink powered the Punxsy front line from her outside hitter position. She was one of only two players on the team to rotate fully around the rotation.

"Shayla is a very strong left side hitter. She significantly improved the team's determination on the court."

Punxsy also gave out its other team awards for the night.

Joining Weaver in the high skills leaders, setter Ashley Reitz posted top numbers for most assists (305) and most service aces (65), including a .950 serve percentage on the year.

The Lady Chucks team voting for a Most Valuable Player rightfully ended in a tie from a team even foes dubbed as loving to play for each other.
Middle hitters Weaver and junior Taylor Newcome earned the titles of co-MVP awardees.

The other Punxsy team award winners were Varsity Most Improved Player - Ashley Reitz, Team Spirit - Shaina Painter, Coach's Award - Emily Reitz and Most Versatile Award - Ivy Phillips.

The Lady Chucks Junior Varsity squad had its own outstanding season where it finished 13-5 on the year.

For the junior varsity team, sophomore middle hitter Hailey Brady, who Good pointed out pushed the varsity players every day, received the JV Most Improved Player Award.