CLARKS SUMMIT — Abington Heights bounced back from a little bit of a sluggish start to defeat Lackawanna Trail, 3-0, in a Lackawanna League girls volleyball match Monday, Oct. 3 at Clarks Summit Elementary.
The Lady Comets, who were coming off a 3-2 win over eight-time defending league champion Dunmore Oct. 1, were tied with the Lady Lions, 8-8, in the first set after an ace from Trail’s Madisyn Peoples, but Abington Heights recorded 16 of the next 23 points to lead 24-15. Lackawanna Trail scored the next four points before a kill by Paris Koehler clinched the first set for Abington Heights.
Abington Heights setter Emily Crowley had six of her game-high 16 assists in the first set. Defensive specialist Maria Pacyna also had five of her team-high eight aces in the first set for the Lady Comets.
“Our coaches told us to pump it up and get our energy back,” Crowley said. “The coaches really push us and tell to play 110 percent every match.”
Jasmine McDuffie had three of her seven kills in the second set, which Abington Heights won 25-10.
Right side hitter Olivia Baker had back-t0-back kills in the set to put the Lady Comets ahead 18-8 and Adele Hollander contributed two aces, including the set clincher, after entering the game as a reserve.
“We played right with them in the first set,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Ryan Laubach said. “In the second and third sets, we weren’t getting into our offense quite like we know we can. It was a little disappointing, but, as a young team, we’re still learning.”
Lackawanna Trail (2-10) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but Abington Heights (9-3) responded by scoring eight consecutive points. Crowley had an kill and Koehler contributed an ace during the run.
“We worked very hard on keeping ourselves fundamentally strong,” Abington Heights head coach Kendra Hooper said. “We didn’t have the energy or momentum, but we kept ourselves up in the match by doing what we needed to do athletically.”
Crowley had three assists, including two to Koehler, in the third set won by the Lady Comets 25-11.
“She’s really been working on getting to the ball and making sure she’s using all her setters,” Hooper said of Crowley. “I’m also always telling the passers we need them to be on their game. When she gets good passes it allows her to get good sets out to our hitters, which gives us our kills.”
Allison Melnikoff was a bright spot for Lackawanna Trail with 19 digs, three service points, one kill and one ace.
“Our libero is unbelievable,” Laubach said of Melnikoff. “She gets to a lot of balls that people don’t expect her to get to. She always plays aggressive and has been one of the best leaders on the team.”
Lydia Dunckle contributed five service points for the Lady Lions.
Hooper believes Abington Heights is beginning to gain confidence after three consecutive victories.
“I think (the Dunmore win) was a turning point for our season,” she said. “It showed the girls they can be a great team. It was no longer me telling them how well they could play, they were able to see their ability on the court.”
Abington Heights will travel to play Western Wayne at 5 p.m. Oct. 6 in South Canaan Township.
Lackawanna Trail will travel to play Montrose at 5 p.m. Oct. 6.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.