MECHANICSBURG — The Philipsburg-Osceola volleyball team’s magical run in the PIAA Class AA Tournament came to end in the title game on Saturday.
The Lady Mounties fell to District 3 champ Trinity 25-19, 23-25, 25-23 and 25-19.
“We had some film on them,” said P-O head coach Dave Eckberg. “Kind of like when we played North Catholic, it takes a while to get adjusted to some things and their height in the middle was obviously hard to match up with.
“We tried some different things. Some times it worked, at times it didn’t. But credit to Trinity, they had a nice game plan and made some points here and there.”
Philipsburg-Osceola trailed 19-18 in the first set before the Lady Shamrocks went on a run to take the 25-19 victory.
Trinity’s Lauren Trumpy had 19 kills and six blocks in the match, including six in the first set. The 6-4 hitter was always going to be an issue for the Lady Mounties, but it was the 1-2 punch of Trumpy and senior Gracie Britten, who had 17 kills and a game-high 12 blocks that P-O struggled with.
“I think as much as anything,” Eckberg said. “These were the only two teams playing that knew their season was going to be over after today. Obviously, you want to win. But my biggest thing is knowing that I won’t be able to be at practice with them. They are all great kids. That to me is what is hard to swallow about losing. Because you know you won’t get to be around them as much for a little bit of time.”
The Lady Mounties rallied to win the second set 25-23, making the Class AA game the only match of the day to not end in three sets.
Philipsburg-Osceola got a key service run from London Cutler to make it 18-13 before Trinity cut it to 23-22.
A big kill from Jayden Perks and a setting error by the Lady Shamrocks set the final at 25-23.
The Lady Mounties found themselves falling by a 25-19 score in the third set, despite rallying from a 9-3 deficit.
“I think we were in there ready to play,” said Eckberg. “It was just a couple of points here and there that made the difference for them. I think at times, their serve was tough. I don’t know that we passed as well. It was because they were aggressive with their serve that we started to do the same and we started to even things out.
“There is a run there in the middle of game four when we were up five or six points. Letting them back into it at that point caused us to get a little tentative.
“It was a great matchup and it’s a credit to them.”
Paige Jarrett had three of her five kills in the set for P-O, while Reese Hazelton had eight of her 26 in the game.
Trinity trailed 9-3 in the fourth set, but rallied to take a 16-15 lead and didn’t look back, taking the set and the title.
“Until you get in there and see it live, it’s hard to judge,” Eckberg said of Trinity’s front row. “We tried our best to do it. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids for the way they fought.
“A couple of points here and there, we were going to game five. It’s just been a great run for the kids. I am really happy for them.”
Hazelton finished the game with 30 digs and seven service points, while Kalista Butler added 37 assists.
Cutler netted 12 digs, six service points, five kills and four aces.
Janey Johnson garnered 20 digs, while Jayden Perks had three blocks.
It was the final game for just one Lady Mountie — senior CeCe Hite, who missed three playoff games due to a precautionary quarantine.
“I am just really happy for her,” Eckberg said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to make it to this point. The girls kept saying, ‘Let’s win this for Cece.’ I thought she did a great job tonight. Anytime you miss a few weeks it takes a couple of practices to get your feet back under you and catch up to the speed of the game. But she was ready for it tonight.”
Philipsburg-Osceola ended the season at 20-1.