HUNTINGDON - The Penn Cambria Lady Panthers girls' volleyball team punched its ticket to Saturday's District 6 Class AA finals with a 3-1 win over Bald Eagle Area Thursday night at Huntingdon High School.
The Lady Panthers will play Philipsburg-Osceola in the championship game as the fourth-seeded Lady Mounties dispatched top-seeded Huntingdon in a marathon five-game match.
Penn Cambria won 25-18, 25-20, 22-25 and 25-17. P-O won 25-27, 25-22, 25-20, 25-15 and 15-9.
"We have been telling the girls this is the way we knew they could play all season long," Penn Cambria coach Leah Montgomery said. "The girls really stepped up tonight and despite losing that third game, were able to rebound nicely for the win."
The Lady Panthers wasted little time in setting the tone in the first game, jumping out to a 10-3 lead early in the contest.
The Lady Eagles did not go quietly, fighting off the deficit to get within 17-14. However, Penn Cambria's Stephanie Basile came up big at the service line and ran off six straight points to give the Lady Panthers a 23-15 lead. Bald Eagle narrowed the game to 23-18 off the serve of Kayla Confer before Brianna Mulhern served out the game-winner.
Penn Cambria got off to another lead in the second game, but the Lady Eagles were able to capitalize on a few Lady Panthers' miscues to eventually tie the game at 11.
The second game saw five ties and six lead changes before Penn Cambria was able to take the lead for good when Basile again scored three points from the service line to make it a 17-16 contest. Again, the Lady Eagles refused to give in and got within two on Kaitlyn Miller's pair of service points.
"You have got to give Penn Cambria a lot of credit," Bald Eagle coach Larry Campbell said. "They were able to take advantage of our mistakes. We just were not able to get ourselves out of that whole.
Things changed in the third game, when the Lady Eagles kept Penn Cambria within range and got a long service from Miller who ripped off nine straight points to make it a 19-16 BEA lead. Bald Eagle was able to tie the game at 20 before taking advantage of mistakes by Penn Cambria before ending the game on two straight Miller service points.
Penn Cambria left little doubt in the fourth game, fighting off a 4-4 deadlock before running off seven straight points off the service of Jess Delic to make it 12-4 contest before Bald Eagle was able to get a sideout. Bald Eagle did not get any closer than eight points before the Lady Panthers captured the match.
In the nightcap, the Lady Mounties fought off a game-one loss, 27-25, before tying things up in game two.
The Lady Mounties took game three with a 25-20 score, before the Lady Bearcats drove home a 25-15 win to tie it up at 2-2.
In the final contest, the Lady Mounties jumped out to a 7-2 lead before cruising to the win.
"I don't think that there has ever been a game between Philipsburg and Huntingdon where it has been a blowout," Huntingdon coach Gina Sellers said. "These are always close games. They kept us on our toes, and they were able to run the right offense against us tonight."
Basile led Penn Cambria with 17 kills while Keisha Mulhern added 27 assists.
For Huntingdon, Alix Sellers finished the night with 12 digs and 15 kills, while Bethany Ledford finished the night with 11 digs and 10 kills. Alyssa Sellers finished with 13 kills, and Kathryn Marter finished with 30 assists.