Site last updated: Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Log In

Reset Password
MENU
Butler County's great daily newspaper

Raiders get over third game rally, beat Moon in four sets

Prompt Response
Seneca Valley’s Matthew DeGraaf (22) celebrates after winning the first set of Tuesday night’s WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball playoff opener against Moon at Seneca Valley High School. The Raiders won in four games. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

JACKSON TWP — Up by six and already with a 2-0 set lead, it appeared to be smooth sailing for Seneca Valley in Tuesday night’s WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball playoff opener.

Visiting Moon forced some choppy waters, if only for a moment.

“We just kind of let off the gas — and I knew it,” Raiders coach Brett Poirier said after his side fumbled a 14-8 lead and dropped the third game, 26-24. “That’s why I took them in set four to talk to them before we started and said, ‘Guys, you’re better than this. You’ve got to play.’ All teams are good in the playoffs, right? So you can’t play down.

“They proved in set four and they put their foot down and played well. I was like, ‘Why didn’t we play like that in set three?’ But that’s just the way it is. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.”

As Poirier alluded to, Seneca Valley got back on course, winning the match in four sets. The fifth-seeded Raiders (13-6) claimed the first two games, 25-15 and 25-17, respectively.

“We let up no runs,” Poirier said of the fourth set, also a 25-15 outcome. “That five- and six-point run that happened in that (third) set, that’s your worst nightmare. You let up that against any team and you’re in trouble. It’s too close. We didn’t let up any runs in that set four, which was a huge difference.

“When we play like that, we’re tough to beat. When we play like set three? We’re beatable.”

Following a timeout in the third game, the No. 12 Tigers (7-8) clawed back to even the count at 15. The two teams tied at each score up to 21 and junior Matthew Dudash’s kill knotted it at 24 before Moon took the set two serves later.

“We (went) back to what we always do,” Tigers coach Henry Chuang said. “Keep the ball alive and find our chances to score in transition.”

Seneca Valley trailed after just the first serve in the final set. Senior Matthew DeGraaf and junior Jordan Hoover both had a block and a kill as the Raiders powered out to a 7-4 advantage. They climbed as high as 11 up — at 24-13 after a Tigers attack error before Dudash’s spike finished things off.

“They’re bigger,” Chuang said. “They played at a higher level consistently throughout the entire season. They’re battle-tested. That definitely showed.”

Seneca Valley never trailed in the opening frame and pulled away after being level at 10 in the second.

For the Raiders, senior Peter Breski had 10 kills and a block. Hoover finished with seven kills and as many blocks. Dudash had eight kills and a block. Seneca Valley advances to face No. 4 Norwin on the road Thursday.

“I just hope we can play consistent in their house,” Poirier said. “Things go easier when you’re at home. When you’re on the road, it’ll be a little bit tougher. We’ve got to be ready.”

Seneca Valley’s Jordan Hoover (26) blocks a hit by Moon’s Charlie Basil in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Matthew Mirilovich serves the ball against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Matthew Cinker (23) celebrates after winning game four against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Matthew Cinker digs the ball out against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Matthew DeGraaf (22) helps block a spike by Moon’s Charlie Basil in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Matthew DeGraaf (22) celebrates after winning game one against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Mario Ardolino saves the ball against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Mario Ardolino saves the ball against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Jordan Hoover blocks the ball against Moon in a WPIAL Class 3A boys volleyball first-round playoff game at Seneca Valley High School on Tuesday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

More in Sports

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

* indicates required
TODAY'S PHOTOS