Lady Highlanders rally back for win

District 6 Class 2A Volleyball: Cambria Heights 3, West Branch 2

ALLPORT — Coming into Tuesday night’s match against No. 10 seed Cambria Heights in the District 6 Class 2A quarterfinals, West Branch coach Terry Trude knew that the Lady Warriors would have to adjust their game.

Trude was in attendance when the Lady Highlanders beat Philipsburg-Osceola in five sets, and saw the Lady Mounties struggle with the type of play.

The Lady Warriors struggled with it too and fell in five sets, bowing out of the playoffs in the quarters.

“Cambria Heights is a typical scrappy team,” Trude said. “They are athletic and they dump the ball quite a bit. Their middles hit good angles and they are strong. Their outside hits it pretty well and the rest of them keep the ball in play.

“You have to terminate balls against them. When we are swinging, we are a better team. If we tip too much, it sets the other team up. At this level, you have to swing to produce your offense.”

Serving is also key in the playoffs and West Branch, which typically serves in the 90-percent range, missed 11 serves in falling 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 25-21 and 15-12.

“We were serving outside the perimeter of the court,” Trude said. “We were cutting the ball and we got called for that. It’s just little stuff like that.”

The Lady Warriors dropped the first set, but the loss didn’t deter the second-seeded hosts, who rallied back to win the second set.

Alaina Speigle had seven of her 11 service points in the set, while Taylor Kalke had three kills.

West Branch headed into the third rotation down 20-16, but Speigle’s run helped give them a 24-20 lead before going on to the win.

The Lady Warriors also won the third set with Caitlin Eirich serving up five straight points to turn an 11-11 game into a 16-11 lead.

Eirich had 10 service points on the night, as well as seven assists.

The Lady Highlanders rallied back to win the fourth set as West Branch missed five serves in the game, sending the match to a deciding fifth set.

The Lady Warriors led 5-3 and 6-4 before a four-point service run from Emily Henry moved Cambria Heights out in front 9-6.

West Branch made it as close as 13-12 before another missed serve and a kill by Olivia Conrad sealed the win for the Lady Highlanders.

“You have your rough patches and your good patches, and we just take it one point at a time,” Cambria Heights coach Paula Lamb said. “That’s all you can do. It’s playoffs.

“I give them a lot of credit, because they fought. When we were down, they were up and when they were down, we were up. It was a battle back and forth.”

“It was a good game,” Trude said. “It came down to the last point. I think we were two evenly-matched teams.”

Charlotte Farabaugh led CH with 19 kills, 11 digs, eight service points and two digs. Meanwhile, Emily Henry tallied 14 points and 11 kills, Olivia Conrad amassed 12 digs and 14 kills and Nicole McCombre had 40 assists.

West Branch finished the season at 30-5-1.