Lady Colts rally after first game

SIDMAN — Northern Cambria overcame a rough patch and eked out a 3-1 victory against Fort Cherry in a PIAA Class 1A girls’ volleyball match at Forest Hills High School.

The Lady Colts, who won by the match scores of 21-25, 25-16, 25-14, 26-24, raised its record to 20-1.

“Any time you get 20 wins in one season you’re doing well,” Lady Colts coach Mike Hogan said. “As I told the kids, any championship run you watch in basketball or volleyball there’s always a scare. We had a little bit of a scare tonight. Now let’s pick up and move on.”

Junior outside hitter Maggie Hogan concurred.

“We had our scare tonight. We didn’t play our best,” she said. “But we stuck together, worked through it and came out on top.”

The Lady Rangers, the second seed from the WPIAL, effectively neutralized Northern Cambria’s potent attack. Strong net play by Allie McKean and Sarah Wolfe kept Maggie Hogan and Emma Kollar at bay as Fort Cherry took the lead from 6-5 and maintained that lead through the end of the first game.

“They had a good game plan. They played good defense,” coach Hogan said. “They pushed us for sure, and kind of caught us off-guard a little bit.

“I think we learned a lesson that you’ve got to prepare for every single match one at a time. I was really proud of the resolve we showed coming back and getting ourselves rolling.”

The Lady Colts never led in Game Two until an unforced error put the District 6 champions in front, 11-10. Maggie Hogan served for five successive points to develop a cushion that Northern Cambria eventually built into a nine-point victory.

“Brooke Lieb really steadied the course for the Colts for us tonight,” coach Hogan said. “I thought Brooke Lieb hung in there and did her job extremely well tonight, defensively and serve-receiving. She got some key swings for us when some other hitters weren’t connecting as well.”

A 9-3 run in the third game put the Lady Colts in command. Fort Cherry refused to give in, and held a 24-19 lead until Camryn Dumm served for the game and match’s last seven points.

“She’s incredible. She got herself going at the end,” coach Hogan said. “She put some nice serves, made some good digs throughout the match She runs our offense.”

“She is one of the best servers that I know. And I had total confidence in her that she could give us the points for us,” Maggie Hogan said.

Northern Cambria will play Cochranton in a second-round match on Saturday at a site and time to be determined. The Lady Cardinals. Cochranton defeated Elk County Catholic, 3-1 (25-15, 25-16, 20-25, 25-15).

“District 10 volleyball is always really good,” said Hogan, who graduated from one of the Lady Cardinals’ rival schools, Saegertown. “I think that will be a good Class A state playoff game on Saturday. That’s going to be a good one, I believe.”

Fort Cherry finished the season at 15-6.

“You’ve got to give them credit. They just lost to Canevin (in the WPIAL championship match). They had to regroup, and they fought hard for their first-year coach (Mackenzie Biggs),” coach Hogan said. “They have nothing to hang their heads about.”