Freeport Stings West Shamokin to Win Girls Volleyball AA Crown

Sunday, November 8, 2015 | 7:16 AM

Freeport lived up to its billing as the top seed in the WPIAL AA playoffs, and bested previously unbeaten West Shamokin in the battle for Armstrong County.  An outstanding effort from senior Zoey Pawlak propelled the Yellowjackets to a convincing 3-1 victory by scores of 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-16. 

Pawlak, a Loyola Maryland recruit, finished the match with 31 kills and seven service aces, and coach Tom Phillips led the Yellowjackets to their third WPIAL title in six years.

Freeport bucked its recent trend of starting games slowly after falling behind 10-2 against Beaver in the quarterfinals and dropped the first set to South Fayette in the semifinals by bursting out to a 12-4 lead in the first set.  The Yellowjackets capitalized on a shaky start by West Shamokin, especially with early service errors, and led by as many as 13 points, including setting up a 24-11 set point.  The Wolves found success at the end of the first set, reeling off seven points in a row, before ultimately folding and conceding the first set 25-18.

The second-ranked West Shamokin team responded with a much more competitive second set, but the Wolves never led after scoring the first point.  One or two points separated the two teams for seemingly the entire set, but it was Freeport who always broke the five ties in the set and did not allow a run of more than four points to West Shamokin.  Freeport claimed the second set 25-20.

The third set began with an 11-0 service run for West Shamokin’s Sierra Dailey, who led West Shamokin with five aces.  Dailey’s left-handed serve gave West Shamokin its longest run of the match, but the double-digit lead was short-lived for the Wolves.  Freeport responded with a 13-2 run of its own to tie the game at 13, but West Shamokin used a run of six to seize control of the set and force a fourth set with a 25-23 victory.

West Shamokin led 6-5 in the fourth set, but never led again.  Freeport emerged unfazed from the West Shamokin set victory and early eleven point run, and won the final set by the widest margin of the afternoon, 25-16.

West Shamokin’s offense was led by Katie Glover’s 20 kills and Andrea Orlosky’s 11 kills.  The Section 3-AA champion Wolves entered the match without dropping a single set in section and playoff play.  Pawlak tallied kills from all over the floor in a myriad of ways, and her jump serve caused all sorts of problems for the West Shamokin defense.  Pawlak was aided by Katie Zingaro’s nine kills and four blocks. 

Both Freeport and West Shamokin qualify for PIAA State Tournament play to represent District 7, tournament play begins Nov. 10.

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