NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Redbank Valley Bulldogs used solid offensive performances from Montana Hetrick and Alivia Huffman to top visiting Chestnut Ridge 28-26, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, on Tuesday night in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
Hetrick hit 28 kills in the win, leading Redbank Valley, while Huffman added 15 kills of her own. Each of the sets was hotly contested, as both teams were evenly matched.
In set one, the Bulldogs got off to a characteristically slow start, making early errors to fall behind 7-3. The Bulldogs never led the opening set until they took an 18-17 lead. The hard hitting kills of Huffman and Hetrick were key in instigating the comeback. Late in the set, the Bulldogs fended off match points on three straight occasions, pulling even at 24, 25, and 26-all. A pair of kills by Hetrick secured the first set for the Bulldogs, putting them up 1-0.
Chestnut Ridge won the second set, as Belle Bosch jumpstarted the Lions with superb blocks and kills. Bosch had five kills and three blocks in the set, serving as a constant outlet for the Lions’ offense. Redbank Valley made 14 errors in the set, including three straight to end the set, as the Bulldogs’ were unable to find an offensive rhythm. The 25-22 win evened the match at one.
The Bulldogs found their groove early in the third set, as Hetrick hit three quick kills to open the set 5-0. Chestnut Ridge swiftly fought back, tying the score at seven. Both teams then entered a period of stagnating offense, making errors throughout the middle of the set. Three straight kills by Bosch put Chestnut Ridge up 20-18, seizing the momentum at the most important time. Redbank Valley rallied back to dominate the end of the set, winning seven straight points to win the third set. Alivia Huffman scored five kills in the stretch, taking over the game from the left side of the offense. The win gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set was a battle between Hetrick and Bosch, as both players kept finding ways to hammer home kills. Hetrick had ten kills in the set, while Bosch had seven kills. Hetrick dominated the middle part of the set, scoring five consecutive kills to grow a 11-9 lead to a 16-9 lead. Chestnut Ridge fought back, using good team volleyball to cut the lead to 20-17. Redbank Valley sealed the deal with four different kills from four different players, culminating in a match-winning kill from Hetrick to take the match 28-26, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21.
The win will advance the Bulldogs to the PIAA Class AA quarterfinal round, where they will travel to face North Catholic at 12:00pm on November 14.