ANDOVER - Mathews' libero Halle Oatridge made school history on Wednesday night, setting a new record for digs with 402.
Unfortunately for Oatridge and the Mustangs, it wasn't enough to bring home a league title.
Using consistency and strong defensive play, the Pymauning Valley Lakers captured their second straight league title with a 3-0 win over the Mustangs - 25-7, 25-18, 25-22.
"This is our second league title in a row," PV coach Rob Wludyga said. "After losing four seniors from last year's team, we had a bit of a question as to how it would go this year. But our four seniors this season really stepped up and gave us the leadership we needed to succeed."
Wludyga lauded the play of his seniors, too.
"Heather (Brant), Michealia (Skleres) and Ally (Workman) did a great job of setting the tone for us and our fourth senior, Erin Fetters, picked it up several notches late in the season when we needed her to," he said.
Junior Bailee Mazzaro got things rolling with the first serve of the contest as Workman sent a perfect tip to just inside the line to her right, and Mazzaro, who tallied 11 points on the night, pushed PV to a quick 7-0 lead before a net serve gave the Mustangs their first point. A double hit got the ball right back for the Lakers, and sophomore Kelsea Brown served 13 more points in a row to open a 21-1 PV lead. From there the Lakers eased to the first-game win.
"PV played a very good defensive match tonight," Mathews coach Carole O'Dell said. "They covered the floor very well. We're a young team, with only two seniors, so we're trying to build our team chemistry toward a good tournament run and for the future."
Oatridge has been a leader for the Mustangs all year. She had 16 digs on the night, which enabled her to setting the school record for Mathews, which falls to 10-13, 8-7.
"Things have been going really well for me this year," Oatridge said. "I'm pretty much concentrating on volleyball now. I am trying to get our team to stay close this year for a tournament run and to finish strong."
After the huge opening game win, PV had to break from a 3-3 tie after a Marisa O'Dell slam, and up stepped Brant to provide the kill to give PV the advantage. Another Brant kill made it 5-3, and PV (14-8, 10-3) extended the lead to as much as 17-10.
However, a five-point Mathews' run served up by Kelsey Brown, followed shortly thereafter by a seven-point stretch with Skleres serving, and PV had a 15-4 lead that it fought tooth and nail to hang on to as the Mustangs rallied again.
It was not enough to stop the Laker title run.
Brown had a big night, scoring 19 points, going 13-of-14 kills, with a pair of aces, and passing successfully 16 times in 20 tries. Mazzaro added 11 points, and Brant added to her 7 points serving with 29-of-34 spiking and 13 aces. Skleres scored 9 points, was a perfect 12-for-12 spiking and had a monster night on the floor setting for other spikers with a perfect 50-for-50 effort.
"We came out with a lot of energy tonight," Wludyga said. "Having played them earlier, the girls knew how they had to play tonight, and the girls established that right from the start.
"Consistency has been our problem all season, and starting with the last game last night against Grand Valley, we found what we wanted and for the most part, maintained it. In any sport, you like to peek late in the season."
Maddy Nicula led the point parade for Mathews with 10 points, and Marisa O'Dell served up 5 points to go with 7 ace kills and 7 assists in passing. Oatridge served up a point to go with her 16 digs.