It was a whirlwind start to the 2018 season for the Elizabethtown Area High School girls volleyball team. The Lady Bears played two regular season games in addition to a tournament. While the end results were mixed at times, the team should come away from the slate positive about the rest of the year.
Elizabethtown’s season began on Friday, Aug. 31, at home against Palmyra, who entered the year as the reigning Class 3A champion in District 3. The first set started tight, but the Cougars would go on a 12-point run to seize the lead, ultimately winning 25-14.
The Lady Bears played much more competitively in the second set, with the two teams holding a 15-15 tie at the midway point. Palmyra once again went on a run, however, and was able to hold on for a 25-20 win. Things stayed the same in the final set; Elizabethtown had the game tied at 13 all at one point but lost ground and fell 25-19, a clean 3-0 sweep for the Cougars.
Junior Taylor McInerney led all players with 16 kills for Palmyra. Fellow junior Hannah Ziegler did the same with 25 assists. Sophomores Allie Stovall and Jackie Baker each had 5 digs. For Elizabethtown, senior Grace Murray had a team-high 11 kills, while junior Hayden Calaman had 18 assists. Freshman Sydney Stewart chipped in with 4 digs.
The team immediately returned to action on Saturday, Sept. 1, taking part in the Labor Day Launch Tournament hosted by Trinity High School. In the first group play session at Camp Hill Sports, Elizabethtown was perfect at 6-0, beating Northeastern (2521, 25-15), Milton Hershey (2517, 25-14) and Lower Dauphin (26-24, 25-19) twice each. The Lady Bears were one of just two teams who were perfect in group play, the other being York Suburban.
Action for the second group play session took place at Trinity High School itself. Elizabethtown first had a rematch with Palmyra, coming back from a 24-19 deficit to win 26-24 in the first game and falling 25-18 in the second. The Lady Bears went on to split games with Mechanicsburg (26-24, 21-25) and Manheim Township (25-18, 2125) to finish at 3-3, enough to send them to the final bracket round.
Elizabethtown handled Penns Valley easily in the first game, then followed that up with a win over York Suburban in the semifinals. In the finals, the Lady Bears once again faced Palmyra and ultimately lost again, giving them a second-place finish overall. Outside of the two finalists, five other teams in attendance (Lower Dauphin, York Suburban, Trinity, Chambersburg and Manheim Township) made the District 3 playoffs in 2017.
The first Lancaster-Lebanon League action of the year came on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Warwick, another District 3 playoff teamfrom 2017. The Lady Bears
readily accepted the challenge, going on a 6-0 run and a 7-0 run in the first set to fend off the Warriors 2519. Another 6-0 run plus a 9-0 run in the second set resulted in an easy 25-9 win as well. Finally, Elizabethtown coasted to a 25-17 victory in the final set for a clean 3-0 win.
Junior McKenna Dare led the way with 8 kills for the Lady Bears. Calaman and Stewart again had the team highs in assists (15) and digs (6), respectively. The former shared the lead in service aces at 4 with senior Elizabeth Vuxta.
Now at 1-1 to begin the year, the Lady Bears are scheduled to play Solanco at home on Thursday, Sept. 6, and go on the road to face Manheim Central on Tuesday, Sept. 11.