Burns Helps Clarion Overcome Serving Mistakes to Knock off A-C Valley in Battle of Unbeatens
CLARION, Pa. (D9Sports) – Thanks in large part to the hitting of Olivia Burns, Clarion overcame serving struggles to knock off visiting A-C Valley, 3-1, in what has quickly become the KSAC volleyball rivalry.
The Lady Cats pretty much played from out in front from midway through the first set on, even during a second set 27-25 loss but allowed A-C Valley to hang around thanks to poor serving – Clarion had 16 service errors – and other unforced errors – the Lady Cats also 15 attacking errors, nine receiving errors and four blocking errors in the match.
But while it wasn’t the cleanest game ever played by the defending District 9 champions, there were plenty of positives for Clarion, which won the first set 25-18 and also had wins of 25-16 in the third set and 25-22 in the fourth, including 26 kills from Burns, who hit .200 on the night, and 16 from Maya Thornton, who hit .275. Setter Gloria Kroh also turned in a strong performance with five kills, 44 set assists and eight digs. Alexis Constantino paced the defense with 17 digs.
Burns, who finished a kills/digs double-double with 12 digs talked about her performance and the performance of her team.
A-C Valley, which got 11 kills from Kylee Eaton and eight each from Olivia Boocks and Josie Terwilliger and 26 combined set assists from Sydney Rankin (16) and Emily Wetzel (10), started out strong against a Clarion squad it beat in last year’s regular season while also taking to the brink in the District 9 championship match.
Thanks to a pair of Boocks kills, the Lady Falcons led 8-4 in the first set and still held an 11-9 led after a kill by Terwilliger.
But a Thornton kill and two by Kroh helped Clarion to rally and take its first lead of the set, 15-13.
A-C Valley rallied to tie it at 15 on an ace by Eaton, but three Thornton kills helped Clarion jump out to the 1-0 lead with a 25-18 first-set victory.
The Lady Cats then looked like they were going to make it an easy night jumping out to a 14-8 lead in the second set behind four kills by Burns, but a pair of Eaton kills and three straight Clarion miscues helped A-C Valley get within a point, 14-13.
A couple of Thornton kills seemed to right the ship for the Clarion, and the Lady Cats seemed poised to take the second set when they grabbed a 23-18 lead on a service error by Wetzel.
But then serving problems crept up for Clarion, as a pair of service errors coupled with some strong serving from Terwilliger helped forge a 24-all tie for A-C Valley.
An Eaton kill than made it 25-24 before Thornton tied it back up at 25. Eaton, though, had another kill to make it 26-25, and when Burns couldn’t get a kill to fall A-C Valley had the come-from-behind 27-25 second-set victory that knotted the match at one set apiece.
Any momentum A-C Valley could have gained from the comeback was quickly thwarted when Clarion jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the third set.
While the Lady Falcons battled back within a point on five different occasions during the set, the final one being at 16-15, there was too much Burns for A-C Valley.
The Clarion senior delivered an impressive nine kills during the 25-16 third-set victory that put the Lady Cats just a set away from victory.
Watch Burns get a third-set kill.
Again, it looked like Clarion was going to make quick work of A-C Valley in the fourth set when Burns had four kills while helping the Lady Cats jump out to a 10-3 advantage in the set.
But again, mistakes by Clarion allowed A-C Valley make in the match.
A net violation, two receiving errors and a hitting error closed the gap to 11-7.
Two kills by Cassie Schwalm, one by Eaton and one by Boocks then got the Lady Falcons within a point, 12-11.
But Thornton rose to the challenge with back-to-back fills, and a hitting error on Schwalm resorted Clarion’s lead to four, 15-11.
After another Lady Cat service error made it 15-12, Kroh and Burns had back-to-back kills to make it 17-12.
But five Clarion errors sandwiched between one from A-C Valley tightened things up to 18-17, and an ace by Eaton made it 18-all.
Burns then was charged with a hitting error, and Boocks delivered a kill, and all of a sudden the Lady Falcons were ahead, 20-18.
But Burns redeemed herself with two kills, and a reception error on Schwalm off a serve by Kroh put Clarion back in front, 21-20.
An error by Clarion’s Sydney Kiser tied the score at 21, but a kill by Burns followed by an error by A-C Valley and a kill from either Lexi Lauer or Hailey Sintobin, they both went up at the same time got the Lady Cats to match point at 24-21.
Thornton, though, misfired on a kill attempt making it 24-22, but she didn’t miss on her second chance to put the match away.
Clarion, which moves to 5-0 in non-tournament action, returns to play Thursday when it faces Forest Area at West Forest.
A-C Valley, which dropped to 4-1 in non-tournament play, is back in action Thursday when it hosts Cranberry.
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