BEA Volleyball dominates in state playoff opener
By: SHAREIK FLOWERS
BELLEFONTE- Bald Eagle Area continues to soar even as their level of competition begins to heat up in the postseason.
On Saturday the Eagles needed all five sets to drop Central Cambria in the District Championship, but the team brought its broom Tuesday as they swept Avonworth, 3-0, in the opening round of the state playoffs.
BEA won the opening set, 25-10, before closing with a 25-23 and 25-14 win to advance to the next round of the postseason.
Lexi Skripek recorded an Eagle-high 18 digs, and in the process increased her career total to over 1,000.
“That was a big thing for her, although you couldn’t tell it was a big moment because numbers aren’t a big thing to her,” BEA coach Larry Campbell said of Skripek’s milestone. “That kid’s in her third year as a starter, and we’ve had some long runs in the playoffs. It’s a tough number to get at a high school level.”
Madison Rockey was a force on the court and posted 31 assists. Katelyn Smitchko tallied three blocks and Grace Hugar led the way with seven kills.
“Madison Rockey does such a good job, and I don’t think people who aren’t volleyball people appreciate how good that kid is,” Campbell said of Rockey. “She’s our best blocker and she’s our center who runs the offense. She’s just an outstanding player and I hope people appreciate her when they’re watching her.”
BEA won the first set, 25-10. BEA held a modest 16-9 lead, before a 9-0 run with Madison Eckley at the line widened BEA’s edge 24-9. Eckley was the Eagles’ most effective server and racked up a game-high six aces versus Avonworth.
“Her serving has been a weapon,” Campbell said of Eckley. “In set 4 on Saturday when we won 24-9 after being down 2-1, she had a 5-0 run to start. Then in set 5 in a game to 15 she had a 9-0 ru . She’s got a hard, flat serve that moves really well. If you don’t get out in her first two [serves] she starts feeling pretty good about her self and the pace starts picking up.”
BEA and Avonworth battled in a hotly contest set 2 that saw 10 ties. Avonworth erased a 3-point deficit with a 6-0 run to control a 14-11 lead. BEA battled back and Grace Hugar’s ace evened the game at 16-all. The game was tied late at 23-23 before the Eagles closed with a pair of points to win the set, 25-23.
“Last year during our run we won six sets that were either 25-23 or 26-24, so it was good to see us win that, especially after Saturday where we lost two like that,” Campbell said.
After an 8-8 tie, the Eagles flew past Avonworth, 25-14, to win the third set and the match 3-0.
“We were sloppy the first ten points, and after that we got geared up a little bit,” Campbell said.
BEA returns Saturday to face the winner of last night’s Corry versus North Catholic matchup.