PHS girls volleyball earns fourth straight gold medal
The Nazareth volleyball team was playing some of its best volleyball all year heading into the District 11 Class 4A final last Thursday night at Whitehall High School. The Blue Eagles won three straight district matches, including against top Eastern Pennsylvania Conference members Emmaus and top seed Liberty. But, they met an even hotter team in postseason play.
Third-seeded Parkland defeated the fifth-seeded Blue Eagles in four sets by scores of 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22.
It was the fourth straight district title for Parkland (29-9-1 overall) and the seventh in the last eight years.
With a lot of inexperience in the starting lineup from a year ago, the Trojans had to battle maybe more so than in years past after their 120 match win streak ended in September. But yet again, on the biggest stage, they stepped up and came out on top.
“There is always high expectations and added pressure,” said senior middle hitter Mia Jago. “It’s intense and amazing. We didn’t know what to expect this season because we have a lot of new girls stepping into the lineup, but everyone played great. It feels great representing our program the way we did tonight. I know a lot of people didn’t expect us to win and go this far. We had to work extra hard and it feels even better.”
Parkland led for most of the first set before jumping out to a 23-16 advantage, and finishing off the set win.
Fueled behind its crowd and powerful hitters up front, Nazareth raced to a 19-13 lead in set two before the Trojans brought it back to within one at 22-21. The Blue Eagles scored three of the next five points to tie the match at one game apiece.
Parkland pulled away late in the third set to take back the lead at 2-1.
Then in the fourth set, the Trojans led early but saw a six-point advantage drop to one at 22-21 before taking three of the next four points to win the district championship.
“We just knew we had to go at them hard the whole time, every point,” said Jago. “It was more our attitude than anything.”
Parkland has come a long way since the beginning of the regular season, and now once again they are district champs.
“There has been so much growth from the beginning of the year,” said head coach Mike Krause. “The girls were able to make adjustments and recognize situations with the guidance of our coaching staff. Everything has started clicking.”
Jago had a match-high 23 kills and four blocks. Junior Grace Steurer and senior Mady Beaver contributed 11 kills each for the Trojans, while senior Hailey Iacobelli tallied 22 digs. Junior Brooke Kratzer contributed 33 assists.