HUNTINGDON - Philipsburg-Osceola volleyball coach Dave Eckberg wasn't sure what to expect from his squad before the season started.
The Lady Mounties, who advanced to the last three District 6 Class AA finals, didn't return a letterwinner from last season's squad, but the inexperienced roster filled exclusively with freshmen and sophomores went above and beyond his expectations.
P-O's inexperience didn't play much of a factor in the early going of Tuesday's AA quarterfinal with fifth-seeded Richland, but the Lady Rams made sure to take advantage of it when it did.
Richland was on the verge of falling behind two sets to none, but scored the last nine points to even the match at one and gain the momentum, which ultimately sank the Lady Mounties (18-13).
The Lady Rams' Kelsey Roush served the final nine points of the second game for Richland, which rolled from there to pick up a 19-25, 25-22, 25-12, 25-19 victory.
Richland will face top-seeded Huntingdon in the semifinals on Thursday. Huntingdon advanced with a 28-26, 25-19, 25-15 win over Ligonier Valley later Tuesday.
"It was the turning point - we couldn't get three points when we needed it," Eckberg said. "It would have been tough to tell what would have happened the rest of the match if we had gotten those points. It's a credit to Richland.
"They're so young that I'm not sure they've been battle-tested yet."
After serving their way to a 25-19 win in the opening set, the Lady Mounties got behind in the second, 12-8, which prompted Eckberg to call a timeout.
His squad responded, as P-O scored 12 of the next 14 points to apparently take control of the game and, possibly, the match.
An unforced error came at the most inopportune time, though, as a kill attempt found its way into the net and gave the Lady Rams serve, down 22-17.
Roush served four aces during the nine-point run, while Kaleigh Hudak had three kills and a block to turn the momentum in Richland's favor.
Hudak ended the night with a game-high 13 kills.
"They made some nice adjustments passing our serve," Eckberg said of the Lady Rams. "It really took the wind out of our sails in the second game with the long service run."
The Lady Mounties were led offensively by Abby Showers and Morgan Williamson, each of whom had 10 service points.