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Bald Eagles drop Serra in PIAA state volleyball opener

By Kenny Varner

BELLEFONTE – Onward and upward.

On Tuesday, the newly crowned District IV champion Bald Eagle Area Volleyball team returned to the court in its quest for a PIAA state title.

With a very vocal student section behind them, the Lady Bald Eagles advanced with a 3-1 victory over the District 7 3-seed Serra Catholic.

The win was a hurdle that last season, the Eagles couldn’t get past but this year the Eagles were ready for it.

“I think we’re in a different place this time . In the previous off season  we went down to West Virginia and played in some AAU open Nationals . Playing there showed that we can play with anybody in the nation. Coming back in the state we got to play well to win. Tonight we feel like there are six teams that can win this thing and I feel like we’re one of this six,” Bald Eagle Area coach Larry Campbell said.

Madison Rockey was one of the workhorses for the Eagles as she finished with 46 assists, an ace and three kills.

Lacee Barnhart also had an impressive night finishing with an ace, six kills and an assist. Teammate Grace Hugar had 12 kills.

In the first set, the Bald Eagles came out firing on all cylinders as it posted an early 5-1 advantage.

In the run,  Hugar had two service points and one by Lexi Skripek.

Bald Eagle kept the service advantage going and was able to maintain a 5-point advantage throughout.

The Bald Eagles’ frontline was a force to be reckoned with as they were able to come out of the first game winners of a 25-19 contest.

The tide turned in the second game as Serra was able to jumped out to a 17-13 advantage after being tied at 13. 

From there, Serra was able to maintain the distance it needed to capture the 25-19 win, tying the match.

The loss seemed to be the spark the Bald Eagles needed to refocus and put Serra away in the final two games.

Ironically, Serra started the third game sizzling with a 6-2 advantage. 

Trailing 6-3, Bald Eagle started to March its way back into the contest.

Barnhart got her team the ball as she found an empty space in the middle, giving them the ball.

Skripek picked up the service point, cutting it to 6-4.

Both teams exchanged side outs and the ball was back in the hands of the Lady Bald Eagles.

Elita Brown came up strong for Bald Eagle on the service line picking up three service points and giving her team the 8-7 advantage. 

The game would be tied at 10 as the Eagles began to extend the lead this time.

Two service points by Brynne Bisel, put the home team up 12-10.

After another exchange of side outs, Bald Eagle put the ball in Rickey’s hand and she did not disappoint. She posted three consecutive service points, putting her team ahead 16-12.

The Bald Eagles would add service points from Brown to finish things out winners of a 25-17 victory.

In the final game of the evening, the Lady Eagles rolled through their opponent once again going ahead 8-4 and never looking back from there, winning 25-15 and advance to the next level. 

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