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Pine Valley takes down Silver Creek in four sets

SILVER CREEK — The Pine Valley Panthers put together a complete performance on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Silver Creek Black Knights on Wednesday night, 28-26, 21-25, 25-20, 25-17.

The first set was a marathon, with both teams making runs and having chances to take control. Pine Valley was ahead at times, but let the Black Knights crawl back and get back in the match. Silver Creek then went up with a lead, but stumbled and made a few mistakes to let the Panthers back into the game. Pine Valley was then able to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them to close out the set.

“We had a few chances early, but I feel like I made a few mistakes that hurt us in the set and ultimately the match,” stated Silver Creek coach John Hilliker. “You have to take advantage of the chances you get and we could not follow through and finish.”

Pine Valley continued the second set the same way and got out to a 15-11 lead. Once Silver Creek won the point, Kiera Brennan went to the line en route to ten consecutive points for the Black Knights highlighted by an effective jump serve. Pine Valley added a few points to get within two, from hustling around the court and Sadie Fadale finishing the point with two kills. Silver Creek was then able to finish with effective serving.

“It seems that we are always ahead and then continue to make mistakes to put us into a hole,” Pine Valley coach Kaitlyn Hoth stated. “I am glad that we are able to fight through the difficult play and put that behind us moving forward.”

In the third set, Pine Valley got out to a 4-1 lead behind strong serving from Lyric Westlund. The Panthers continued to play well and push out to a 10-4 lead. After Silver Creek went on a miniature run, Pine Valley went on a run to go up 18-12, which was complete by a hit over the block by Trista Farnham. The Panthers were able to take advantage of Silver Creek mistakes to finish off the set.

“After the second set, we realized that we needed to play a complete game,” Hoth added. “Although we continued to make some mistakes, we continued to play better each set. That is what we strive to do, get better each set as the match progresses.”

Pine Valley continued its momentum in the fourth set by claiming the first five points with an ace by Fadale and multiple errors by the hosts. After trading off points with a lot of longer rallies to put the Panthers up 10-6, Pine Valley added four consecutive points with effective serving and many well placed balls. At that time, the momentum was hauled from two consecutive kills by Brennan. Pine Valley made a strong push towards the end with quality passing and good court coverage; finished on a kill from Morgan Sandy.

“Pine Valley was really effective and beat us on the free ball,” Hilliker stated. “We hustled, but the ball bounced where it did. Pine Valley does not pound the ball hard, but they hustle around the court and play smart. On a positive note, we did play them a lot better this time around.”

Fadale finished with 11 digs, 11 kills, two aces, and two assists. Westlund added six digs, eight kills and five aces while Sandy chipped in with ten digs, 19 assists, and two kills.

The Black Knights were led by Brennan with nine aces and 11 kills with Libby Lawton contributing with three kills and two aces.

“Our serve receive has been an area that we have struggled most of this year,” Hoth stated. “Our serve receive was a lot better than it has been in the past, but we will need to continue to get better each day.”

Both teams are off until next Wednesday when they both play league games with Dunkirk traveling to Silver Creek and Fredonia hosting Pine Valley.

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