The Armstrong River Hawks celebrated their third straight girls volleyball section championship before taking down the Shaler Titans in three straight sets to advance to the WPIAL Quarter-finals.
Armstrong was able to sweep all three sets against the Titans on Thursday evening, winning their first set 25-18, the second set 25-14 and the dramatic third set ended with the River Hawks winning 27-25.
The River Hawks controlled the first two sets from the jump, but after starting the third set six ties in the first six points scored by both teams the third set was different. Shaler then went on a 6-1 run to go ahead 12-7 forcing Armstrong to take a time-out.
After the time-out, Armstrong came out firing on all cylinders tying things back up at 16 all before taking a 20-16 lead. The Titans wouldn’t give up that easily and in the last six points scored to win the game, there were another four ties before the River Hawks closed it out with the 27-25 win.
After the game, River Hawks Head Coach Andrea Lasher said the third set was a great come-back by her team and it really showed their character.
“It was good for the girls to come back (in the third set) after being down five. That’s what I told the girls in our time-out that this is the team we are so let’s go out and show them. We have our work cut out for us in the next round, so we’ll see what happens,” Lasher said.
The girls will be on the road next Tuesday at an undecided location to take on Upper St. Clair, a team they have seen early in the season. Though they lost the first match, it was neck and neck each set and now both teams are different and likely better than before.
Lasher knows that it’s going to be a tough task, but their goal is to surpass the quarter-finals for the first time in school history.
“We have to work our butts off and do as much as we can with strategies. This is a huge goal for us, we want to surpass the quarter-finals because we’ve been there for the past three years. We’re focused on that game and all we can do is take it one point at a time,” Lasher said.
In the River Hawks win Thursday, Kenzie Lasher lead the way with 17 kills while Loryn Bowser had 9, and Lauren Crytzer had 7 kills.
The neutral site will be decided on Friday by the WPIAL. The River Hawks will be playing Tuesday against Upper St. Clair.