Seniors shine bright in Lady Chucks' win on Senior Night

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Lady Chucks' volleyball team honored its seniors prior to Thursday night's game against the Lady Raiders of Brook-ville, and all four seniors — Cassie Cook, Janie Depp-Hutchinson, Brooke Doney and Tori Martin — were put in positions they weren't used to as they played the entire way around.

But the seniors stepped up and played incredibly well against the Lady Raiders, sweeping them in three games, 25-15, 25-14, 25-14.

"It was nice for all the seniors to play all the way around," Punxsy head coach Lisa Kephart said after the game. "They were able to step up and show what they're made of, and they all played really well, even though they were in positions they weren't used to."

Normally the team's setter, Cassie Cook recorded a pair of kills attacking in the front row, and Doney, who is known for her passing abilities in the back row, was up front hitting, too.

Martin and Depp-Hutchinson also saw time in the back row, and all four covered their areas well, Kephart said.

After the ceremony, Punxsy came out firing with Cook serving the Lady Chucks to a 6-0 lead, powered by a kill by Junior Sydney Weaver, a back row attack by junior Shayla Brink and a kill by Depp-Hutchinson.

After a pair of side-outs, Depp-Hutchinson pushed Punxsy's lead to 10-3 with three points, including a kill by Martin, who Kephart said "was hitting really hard tonight, and was really on her game."

After another quick turnover, Weaver served four consecutive points of her own, and the Lady Chucks lead was 15-4.

But Brookville's Lidia Boghean scored seven consecutive points, including a pair of aces, to narrow the gap for the Lady Raiders at 15-11.

After Boghean lost serve, the teams exchanged side-outs again until Cook took over at the service line and scored five consecutive, including an ace, to wrap up the first set for the Lady Chucks, 25-15.

The second set was a back-and-forth game with each team going through its entire serving rotation twice, but short runs by the Lady Chucks were the key.

Brink had a three-point run that included two aces, Weaver had a four-point rally highlighted by a Martin kill, and Doney had a three-point run of her own as the Lady Chucks were able to cruise to a 25-14 final.

The third set started much like the first did for the Lady Chucks, with Cook opening up a 5-0 lead before being broken.

Brookville's Stefany Alexander managed a pair of points for the Lady Raiders before Depp-Hutchinson pushed Punxsy's lead to 9-3 with the help of another Martin kill.

Doney, Taylore Newcome and Cook each added three-point runs throughout the game to give Punxsy the breathing room it needed, and on the final play of the set, Newcome dove for a ball that appeared to be a sure Brookville point.

Newcome's return snuck over the net, though, and the Lady Raiders were unable to play it, giving Punxsy a 25-14 victory and a sweep over the Lady Raiders.

"I was really happy with the effort and hustle tonight, but Punxsy's an amazing team," Brookville head coach Toni Tosh said.

Thursday's home win was Punxsy's final home game of the season, but the Lady Chucks still have a pair of road games next week — Monday against Redbank and Thursday against DuBois Central Catholic.

In the junior varsity contest, Punxsy was dominant and secured a two-game sweep, 25-8, 25-12, over the Lady Raiders.

Punxsy was led by Sydney Phillips and Emilee States in the first set, as each had a pair of aces.

In the second set, Shaina Painter was the star of the game. When she took over serving, the score was tied at five, but her serve wasn't broken until 12-points later, extending the Chucks lead to 17-5. Punxsy went on to win 25-12 for the sweep.