PV cuts short Mustang rally in volleyball

VIENNA — After losing two consecutive sets, the Pymatuning Valley Lakers were deadlocked at two sets a piece with fellow Northeastern Athletic Conference rivals, the Mathews Mustangs. The game came down to the wire until Ashley Hall sent a ball over the net for the game-winning point, sealing the hard-earned victory Thursday night.

“It was a really hard-fought game,” Pymatuning Valley assistant coach Justin Smith said. “Mathews really battled well. We went up 2-0, it could’ve been really easy for them to roll over, but they battled back and did a great job.”

Smith filled in for head coach Paul Stofan, who was out for personal reasons.

Hall scored 19 points for the Lakers and Jenna Swiger scored 12. Hall put up 7 points in the final set, including the game-winner.

“Any time you go into a fifth set, when you were up 2-0 and then 2-2, you always are a little worried,” Smith said. “They’ve got the momentum, they’ve got the energy and you have to match it. It’s really difficult.

“I thought our girls did a great job, especially after Mathews got up a little bit. I really thought our girls did a great job of rallying and finishing the match.”

Senior Sadie Bertok of the Mustangs put up 17 kills with 14 digs. Gabby Shimko took a distribution role, chalking up 19 assists. Sophomore Ally Richards led the Mustangs in aces with five.

“They’re working really hard, they hustle, and we just need to get over that hump,” Mathews coach Carole O’Dell said. “These girls are young, but every time they step out on the court they get a little better.”

Mathews (1-10, 1-7 NAC) heads on the road to face Kennedy Catholic next, while the Lakers (3-4, 3-3 NAC) return home to face Brookfield.

“I feel really good going into Saturday,” Smith said. “We’ve been playing well. We’ve been competitive in every match that we’ve played. Over the last six or seven matches we’ve been trending in the right direction, and we’re starting to come around.”