It will be a familiar scenario for the Whitehall girls volleyball team when district action begins this week.
For the fourth consecutive year, Whitehall will be vying for a quarterfinal spot in one of the early play-in games when the District XI 4A Girls Volleyball Tournament gets underway on Oct. 25 at Emmaus High School.
If history repeats itself, Whitehall will once again be playing two games on that opening evening as top-seeded Emmaus awaits the winner of the 8-9 match featuring Whitehall and Wyoming Valley West.
The Zephs have been victorious in all those early games, having defeated Pleasant Valley in 2017, Pocono Mountain East in 2016, and Pottsville in 2015.
Whitehall enters the tourney at at 8-10, earning the eighth seed. They’ll face the Spartans who finished 9-8 this season and come into then tourney as the ninth seed. The Spartans reside in the Wyoming Valley Conference where they compete in District 2.
The Spartans are led by outside hitter Andi Blaski who had a team high 92 kills. Not far behind were middle Rhena Lauver (88) and outside hitter/defensive specialist Sidney Scarcella who also tallied 88 kills. Middle hitter Alliyah Mann led the team in blocks with 28, while setter Tessa Johns 328 assists to pace the Spartans.
Whitehall counters with Alyson Peters who led the Zephs with 273 kills, while Olivia Ballard was second with 80. Peters also led the team in blocks with 102, while Amanda Mortimer was second in that category with 43. Alexa Crum led the team in assists with 539, and Ballard led the team in digs with 145.
Head coach Eric Budge said that the team is excited to play in the district tournament. It will be against an opponent that they’re unfamiliar with, sharing no common opponents, but they welcome the opportunity.
“We have been preparing for the past week and a half, continuing to work on the fundamentals while making some minor changes that we hope will help us be successful Thursday,” said Budge.
He knows that if they are victorious a big green and yellow challenge awaits. Still, he knows they’re not invincible.
“As we’ve seen over the past three weeks, Emmaus can be beat,” said Budge. “We are hoping that the changes we are making will allow us to play a competitive game against them, providing us with an opportunity to beat both teams we may see on Thursday.”