Posted/Updated: 11/13/2019 9:41:26 AM

68-point opening sets up Parkland girls volleyball for 6th straight D-11 title

As the point totals climbed higher and higher, it became clear: whoever won the first set was winning the district championship.

After 68 points, the opening set belonged to Parkland High School’s girls volleyball and, eventually, so did the District 11 title.

The fifth-seeded Trojans defeated third-seeded Emmaus 35-33, 25-17, 17-25, 25-16 during the district final in an oppressively humid Catasauqua High School gymnasium on Thursday night.

It’s the sixth straight D-11 crown for the Trojans (17-5).

The opening segment was absolutely epic as no team had an advantage greater than three throughout the set. Emmaus (18-7) had seven opportunities to clinch the initial victory, but Parkland rallied back to tie each time.

“We practice coming back and fighting for those points,” Trojans senior middle hitter Lauren Ceh said. “I think all of us on the court knew that getting that set was going to be a huge momentum swing. It was really crucial. We came way too far to let that drop.”

It was an amazing display of execution under pressure by both teams.

“It wasn't mistake-oriented; it was point-oriented,” Parkland coach Mike Krause said. “That's the part I was proud of, Emmaus wasn't making errors; we weren't making errors.”

Trojans senior opposite hitter Amber Resendez smacked down a kill to spoil another Emmaus set-point and tie the score at 33-33.

“Going into the 20s and the 30s, we really tried to focus on limiting our errors and getting every, single ball up,” Resendez said. “That extra push to play harder and play smart really gave us the edge.”

Freshman outside hitter Scarlett Jago knocked a hit off the Emmaus block to put Parkland ahead 34-33 and Ceh, finally, ended things at 35-33 with a tip.

“It was a battle. I told the girls, that's what championships are about,” Krause said. “Kudos to Emmaus, because they just kept on bringing the heat and playing – and we kept on playing. It actually was fun ... I was crediting (Emmaus coach) Brianne (Giangiobbe); I was so proud of her team. We were fortunate to get the upperhand and I think that gave the kids confidence heading into the second set.”

“It was a great way to start off ... We just had to keep pushing,” Trojans sophomore outside hitter Brynn Dreisbach said.

The second set was almost academic after the emotional swing that the opener provided. Parkland scored seven straight points to take an 18-10 lead. Resendez and Ceh ended the second frame with back-to-back scores.

“The momentum going into the second set was awesome,” Resendez said. “We kept that same mindset and we pulled it out.”

Emmaus, to its credit, continued to battle; particularly junior hitter Jaya Bhagat, who shined for the Green Hornets offense, despite being hampered a bit by an apparent cramp in her leg.

Bhagat gave Emmaus a 23-16 lead in the third set and a couple of Parkland errors ended it at 25-17.

“I think we were consistent in every area,” Krause said. “We knew we were going to have hiccups. Being able to handle those emotionally, which they did, was very important.”

Similar to the second frame, Parkland took control midway through proceedings in the fourth as a kill from Dreisbach gave the defending champs a 17-11 advantage.

“It took a lot of fire, digging deep and trying our very best,” Dreisbach said. “It paid off.”

Jago put Parkland on the doorstep, 24-16, and a Green Hornets error ended the evening.

“Our offense was really good. We knew what shots to take and who was up at the net with us,” Resendez said. “Their offense is also very good, very challenging. So, we had to really focus on placing our shots and knowing where to go with the ball. I think that helped us a lot.”


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