Lady Devils fall to Bald Eagle Area
The District 6 2A girls volleyball championship match featured an experienced team that won last year’s title and two of the last four versus a team making its first deep playoff run.
Experience won out.
Bald Eagle Area had Central Cambria on its heels from the outset in a 3-0 sweep by scores of 25-19, 25-13, 25-18 Saturday afternoon at the AAHS Fieldhouse.
“This is the first time being here for all of our girls. A little bit of a shellshocker. A little bit of inexperience, and I think it showed,” CC coach Jason Layman said.
Eight straight service points from Bald Eagle’s Elita Brown in the first game opened up a 10-point advantage, and the Lady Eagles held off a late Central Cambria charge for the six-point win.
Brown also strung together a series of service points in the second game as well. The junior right side hitter finished with 15 service points, including three aces.
“She’s a big server. The first one was a little soft, but after that, she kind of cranked it up,” BEA coach Larry Campbell said. “We don’t have a soft server in our group. As a passer, when you keep getting bomb after bomb after bomb, it gets in your head. Its tough to be under that kind of constant pressure.”
Lacee Barnhart had a pair of aces as well, and the team as a whole notched eight aces. Barnhart also had seven kills and 13 digs in the match.
Taylor Kilmer and Grace Hugar tied for the match lead in kills with 11. Lexi Skripek had 19 digs, and Madison Rockey dished out 36 assists to go along with a team-high three blocks.
For Central Cambria, Jenna Bauer’s nine kills and Leah Bracken’s 21 assists led the offense. Cassidy Bezek had 17 digs and Ashley Grimes blocked six shots on defense.
In the second game, Bauer’s tip for a point trimmed BEA lead to 7-5, but the Lady Eagles ran off nine of the next 10 points to take a double-digit lead.
A Bauer kill in the third game got Central Cambria to within three points at 14-11. A long serve followed by a net violation gave BEA the next two points, however, the Lady Eagles maintained at least a four-point lead to the end when Rockey sealed the district championship with a cross-court kill.
Both teams qualify for the 2A state playoffs, which start Tuesday. Bald Eagle plays the WPIAL’s third place finisher, and Central Cambria gets the District 3 champ. Sites and times are to be determined.
“Fortunately, we get another game here to try and rebound and come back,” Layman said. “Hopefully, our five senior leaders will learn from it. We’ll work on some things for Tuesday and try to use it to our advantage.”
CENTRAL CAMBRIA: Bezek 5, Grimes 5, Bauer 4, Muffie 3, Bopp 1, Bracken 3.
BALD EAGLE AREA: Skripek 8, Brown 15, Barnhart 5, Hugar 4, Bisel 4, Rockey 7.
Records: Central Cambria (19-3); Bald Eagle Area (19-0).