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By Lisa Renwick
Mike Stevenson saw something different about his Rocky Grove girls volleyball team very early on.
“You could just see those first two weeks,” he said. “It was a lot different starting out than in the past with teams that had talent. That has really been the biggest thing. They bought in. They supported each other.”
That the Lady Orioles certainly did.
Sure, they would have loved to put a Region 1 championship banner up on the wall of the school’s gymnasium. Sure, they don’t feel they performed up to standard with a shot at a piece of that crown on the line Tuesday night against West Middlesex.
But a second place finish in the region at 10-2 and a 12-4 overall record to cap the regular season is certainly something the program and its followers should be proud of.
Rocky Grove ended the regular season on Thursday with a 25-15, 25-11, 25-19 win over Mercer.
Statistically for the Orioles, Courtney Clark had four aces, five digs and 30 assists. Rylee Reed had three aces and seven kills. Abby Williams paced the offense with 10 kills to go along with three aces and nine digs. Paige Cresswell added three aces and seven digs. Devin Rhoads tallied two aces with nine digs; Sarah Plumer had five kills and Abby Cable has four kills.
Rocky Grove will enter the District 10 Class 1A playoffs as a team to keep an eye on. The tournament is expected to start on Tuesday. Official brackets are likely to be released over the weekend.
The favorite in the Class 1A bracket will be Cochranton, who has just a single loss on the year. That loss came against rival Maplewood in four sets. Saegertown will also be a force to be reckoned with. The Panthers’ lone losses are to Cochranton (twice), Fort LeBoeuf, Harbor Creek and Corry. Harbor Creek and Corry are ranked No. 4 and No. 10, respectively, in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s Class 2A rankings.
But definitely don’t count out the Region 1 runner-up Orioles, who will certainly show up and give it their best shot and give their community something more to be proud of.
“Our fans have been excellent all season,” Stevenson said. “And this year to have the Bird Gang back is just huge. We went last year without fans and we had really started to build some momentum with our fan base. These girls ride on that energy.”
In other action, Warren swept past Maplewood in non-region action.
Set scores were: 25-18, 25-17, 25-17.
Sadie Thomas had 18 kills and 13 digs in the loss.
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