Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, October 22, 2018

Volleyball eyes playoffs

Thursday, October 4, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Whitehall girls volleyball team finds itself in a nice stretch right now, and that will help lay the foundation for a district playoff push as the season heads into the final two weeks.

The Zephyrs have won three games in a row, their latest a four-set victory over Easton. It comes in the midst of the team reeling off five wins in their last six games.

With that win over the Red Rovers, they sit at 6-6 with six games remaining. Of those six teams, four have winning records, and most likely assured spots in the district tournament. They’ll be facing Skyline Division opponents other than Dieruff, and that won’t be an easy task when looking to remain at .500 or better in those remaining games. They currently sit on the eighth spot in the District XI 4A power rankings at 0.601764.

Head coach Eric Budge said that they’ve been playing great volleyball over that span and attributes it to being committed to doing the little things right.

“We have been focusing on being excellent, [including] our service receive, free ball passing, defensive alignment, in-system attacking, and overall court movement, and communication, and it has put us in position in position to beat tough opponents throughout the past week,” said Budge.

They defeated the Red Rovers 25-17, 26-28, 25-16, 25-10. In that win, Alyson Peters had 18 kills, five blocks and six digs, while Lexi Crum registered 37 assists and three blocks. Additionally, Olivia Ballard finished with seven kills and eight digs, while Taylor Levan had 14 digs and three aces.

Budge said that Peters continues to lead the team with her play in all six rotations, and that’s been aided by the clutch play of her teammates who’ve steeped up in key moments to make big plays.

Before their three-game winning streak, the Zephyrs played Parkland, and while they lost in three sets, each consecutive set saw them cut the margin of victory. It provided a good springboard for the current hot stretch. That paved the way for victories over Pleasant Valley and East Stroudsburg South leading up to their Easton win.

Budge knows the final two weeks will be tough.

“We need to continue to do the fundamentals well, and push ourselves to perform at our peak for an entire match to win against in-conference teams,” said Budge. “The team is really excited and motivated to have another opportunity to play the schools that beat us earlier in the season.”

Budge said that they aren’t the same team that took the court the first time around against their Skyline foes, so he’s looking forward to see how they compete in the rematches.

In their victory over ESS, Alyson Peters registered 26 kills and three blocks, while Taylor Levan had seven aces and 24 service points. Additionally, Lindsay Ball finished with six kills, six aces, and 16 service points, while Lexi Crum had 42 assists.