PHILIPSBURG - The top-ranked Philipsburg-Osceola volleyball team toppled eighth-seeded Central on Wednesday evening in the quarterfinals of the District 6 Class AA playoffs.
The Lady Mounties won by scores of 25-15, 25-11 and 25-14.
The nerves showed for both teams in the first game, as both the Lady Mounties and Lady Dragons sat through much of the two-hour first game between Richland and Westmont Hilltop.
"They were a little nervous," P-O coach Dave Eckberg said. "I tried to get them to calm down, but as much as I told them this is just another game and a team you just saw last week, it's tough to get that through."
The Lady Mounties got a lot of help at the service line from Kylie Scovern, who led the team with 11 service points, including five aces.
Scovern was a bright spot for P-O, which had 12 service errors on the night.
"That's a little too much for what I think we can do," Eckberg said. "I do think we can do a little better. Kylie's serve gave us some seperation in all three games. She had some nice service runs."
Still, the Lady Dragons played the top seed tough in the first set, getting some big plays from Tessa Shaw and Ivy Tomlinson.
But the passing and serving of the Lady Mounties proved to be too much for Central, and P-O went on to win, 25-15.
"I think part of our struggle is just in the execution," Lady Dragons coach Erin Barley said. "We play really well for our opponents often times. But tonight I told them it was about them as a team. We came in as pretty deep underdogs and so I told them to just go out and play for themselves and each other.
"It's about pride and representing themselves and Central well, and competing hard."
Philipsburg-Osceola made quick work of the Lady Dragons in the second set, as Abby Showers had a four-point service run for the Lady Mounties.
McKenzie Burge and Liz Robertson each had three-point runs in the 25-11 victory.
Despite the big victory, Eckberg was still not as happy with his passing as he usually is.
"It was OK at times," he said. "We didn't pass free balls that well tonight, but all in all I have no complaints about it tonight. All in all, they got a district win against a quality opponent who was short-handed.
"Central served well and put us in a bind a couple of times tonight."
The Lady Dragons jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the third set, led by four points from Kaitlin Farabaugh, but P-O rallied to take an 15-11 lead and never looked back, topping Central, 25-14.
"They [P-O] are great competitors," Barley said. "They are very well-coached. They are a tough serving team. They are a testament of what you can do if you can pass and serve and have good ball control even if you don't have a lot of height."
Farabaugh had seven service points, while Shaw had five kills.
Scovern and Showers each had 11 service points, while Burge added 23 assists.
Philipsburg-Osceola improved to 29-5 overall and hosts Richland at 7:30 tonight. Central ended its season at 7-8.