TOWAMENCIN >> The Dock Mennonite girls volleyball team jumped out to a 15-3 lead in the first set and never looked back, sweeping Sacred Heart 3-0 (25-16, 23-25, 25-19) in the District 1/12 regional semifinals Thursday night.
“They were hyped up for this match,” Dock head coach Trish Hoover said. “Our nemesis is Sacred Heart so they’re always up for the game. In fact a little too up…(Sacred Heart) fought back, which didn’t surprise me.”
Sacred Heart made an 11-1 run of its own in the middle of the opening set to cut the lead to 17-14, but Dock established itself from there and took eight of the final 10 points.
Courney Herm led Dock on offense with 13 kills, while Daphne Hunsinger registered 12. Molly Hand had 25 assists in the match.
“I love the ball coming to me,” Hunsinger said. “I just hope that my setter will set it to me so I can slam the ball on the court and get that kill.”
The Pioneers played a clean match all night, recording six service aces and a hitting percentage of .287. Herm and Hunsinger both hit over 40 percent in the match.
Maura Shisler led Dock on the serving line, registering four aces.
“Maura is actually only a second-year player,” Hoover said. “She knows how to place the ball really well and had some nice little runs for us.”
The Pioneers served and hit well in the first set, personified by Shisler and Hunsinger. Shisler picked up three aces in a five-point streak, and Hunsinger swung with authority whenever she had the chance.
The Lions showed the fight in coming back not once but twice in the second set. A 4-0 run by Dock with the set tied at 14 had it looking like the Pioneers would cruise again, but Sacred Heart responded with four straight points of its own down 23-19 to tie the set at 23.
“These girls fought all year. I’m really proud of them,” Sacred Heart head coach Sam Moyerman said.
Sacred Heart just never overcame the leads Dock was able build. Juliana Michniak paced the Lions with 16 kills in the match compared to just one error.
“She’s was our core captain all year,” Moyerman said. “She’s played really, really well…she knows she has to take over sometimes and make plays. And Jaycee (Webster) did the same thing a little bit. Just controlling the game and making sure whatever they could do they were doing.”
Michniak and Webster tied for the team lead in aces with two. Webster also had four kills in the match.
Dock secured the final two points of the second set, with the final coming on an ace from Molly Hand. Dock once again served well in the second, led by a five-point run from Carsyn McCloskey.
“My game plan was to balance (Sacred Heart) out with equally-scrappy defense,” Hoover said.” I think offensively we’re a little bit stronger and we make less errors…That’s what I was hoping would shift the game for us.”
McCloskey had 19 digs for Dock, while Hunsinger added 17 for the Pioneers.
Up next for the No. 1 seed from District 1-A is the survivor of a match between the top two seeds from District 12. Dock is one win away from qualifying for the PIAA state playoffs.
“Well we’ve played one of the teams in District 12 and we beat them twice,” Hunsinger said. “So I’m pretty confident that we can do well if we just keep focusing and working hard in practice. I think we can win it.”
DOCK MENNONITE 3, SACRED HEART 0
Sacred Heart 16 23 19 — 0
Dock Mennonite 25 25 25 — 3
Dock Mennonite: Courtney Herm 13 kills, Daphne Hunsinger 12 kills. Molly Hand 25 assists. Carsyn McCloskey 19 digs, Hunsinger 17 digs. Maura Shisler 4 aces. Sacred Heart: Juliana Michniak 16 kills. Hannah Martinson 23 assists.