NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A 14 kill performance from Redbank Valley’s Alivia Huffman powered the Bulldogs to the D9 Class AA Title, defeating Keystone in four sets, 25-20, 25-13, 19-25, 25-15.
The Bulldogs looked in control all night, as they limited their errors and missed serves while maintaining a composed attack, with Huffman and Montana Hetrick providing the finishing kills. Huffman’s 14 kills led the Bulldogs, who also received eight kills from Hetrick. Hetrick led Redbank Valley with four aces, while Brynn Rearick also had four aces and 11 digs. Brooke Holben added 28 assists, setting up Redbank Valley’s powerful hitters.
The first set started off with a quick Redbank Valley run, but Keystone righted the ship and went on their own surge, storming ahead to a 16-10 lead. Natalie Bowser was key for the Panthers in this stretch, putting in solid work offensively, providing kills and strong serves. Redbank came storming back to take the set, going on a 15-4 run to seize control of the match. The service game of Rearick and Hetrick was instrumental during the Bulldogs’ run, which culminated in a set-winning kill by Huffman.
Set two was dominated by the Bulldogs, who jumped out to an early 10-6 lead. Holben was exceptional early in the second set, making calm and composed plays from the setter position to clear the way for the Bulldogs’ hitters. Huffman dominated the remainder of the lopsided second set, pounding home kills from the left side. Meanwhile, Keystone suffered from sloppy play in the set, as their errors made it difficult to stick with Redbank Valley’s offensive production.
Keystone came back in the third set, as they quickly seized a 6-2 lead. The Panthers continued their momentum through the set, winning their lone set of the match. Bowser was huge again in the second, hammering home numerous kills and providing vital blocks. Keystone kept their errors to a minimum in the third set, while making Redbank Valley pay for almost all of their mistakes.
Redbank Valley took back the momentum early in the fourth set, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Rearick’s stellar serves drove the early run. Both teams worked back and forth throughout most of the set, with the Bulldogs maintaining their lead. Late in the set, an epic volley got the gym rocking, as Keystone blocked a series of big Redbank Valley hits to prolong a point. Unfortunately for the Panthers, a long hit gave the point to the Bulldogs, putting them up 22-14 and in prime position to win the title. On the championship point, a strong Rearick serve forced a Keystone error at the net, securing the Bulldogs the D9 Class AA title.
The win completes the D9 championship trifecta for Redbank Valley, who also won district titles in girls soccer and football in 2020. Redbank Valley will move on to the PIAA playoffs and will play at a date and time to be determined.