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Ridge volleyball loses 1st game of year in finals

November 4, 2012
By Jeff Maurer (jeffm@dailyamerican.com) , The Altoona Mirror

SOMERSET - There was talk by some that North Star's streak of eight straight District 5 Class A girls volleyball championships might be in jeopardy with Chestnut Ridge in the mix this year.

The Lions had dropped down in classification from Class AA and brought a 20-0 record into Saturday's final match at Somerset Area High School.

But the Cougars proved that the championship trophy still belongs in Boswell as they kept their dynasty alive by claiming their ninth consecutive district crown with a 3-1 victory (25-20, 21-25, 25-12, 25-13).

"We figured we were the underdogs coming in," North Star coach Tony Crisafulli said. "They [Chestnut Ridge] were ranked first in the district. They were undefeated. They play in a different conference than we do. We really didn't have any common opponents. The only common opponent that we had was Berlin and they swept Berlin, so we knew they were a good team. They moved down [in classification]. They've been Double-A for years. So we knew we'd have our hands full.

"The girls came through when they had to. The good thing is that this team has a lot of experience in big games."

Crisafulli sounded humble when discussing the streak of nine straight titles.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I just thank God for the athletes that I've hard and the girls and their work ethic. It's a testament to them and everything that they do. They really work at this, not only during the season but in the offseason as well."

Lauren Walker led North Star with 15 kills and 10 service points. Valentine and Kelli Putman each provided 18 assists. Abby Charlton added 18 service points and six kills. Ellie Fleegle and Morgan Cannin each scored nine kills.

"We have a lot of pressure on us. At practices we work hard on team work and out on the floor we prove ourselves. We're a team and we work together," North Star senior Krista Valentine said.

North Star (20-0) will play the District 6 runner-up on Tuesday night at a site to be determined in the first round of the PIAA state playoffs.

Sam Knisley led Chestnut Ridge with eight kills and six blocks. Kristi Batzel had seven assists and 11 digs.

"It's our first loss, so that's new to them," Ridge coach Tammy Clingerman said. "I do think they lost faith in themselves and lost their confidence [after the first set]. But, hey, North Star is a very good team. I told them, 'Please don't hang your heads.' We didn't play our best, but I don't think they have anything to be ashamed of. They made it this far and it's the furthest a Chestnut Ridge team has come since 1985. We're losing a great group of seniors. We're going to miss them next year."

 
 

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