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PHS girls volleyball wins two state playoff games

The Parkland High School girls volleyball team went into the state tournament looking to continue its winning ways. The Trojans took down both Plymouth Whitemarsh out of District 1 and Wilson West Lawn out of District 3 in the first two rounds.

“We played well against Wilson,” said Trojan head coach Mike Krause. “They were a very strong offensive and blocking team at the net. We worked on our floor game to counter their height and strong vertical jump. We passed their serves very well. That allowed our offense to stay in tempo. Maggie [Smith] could deliver the ball to any available hitter taking away our predictability (which would have strengthened Wilson’s block). Our team hit .424 offensively. That is a great accomplishment against a very aggressive and tall opponent.”

The Trojans won both matches in straight sets, like they did for all but one match this season. Krause credits the team’s hard work at practice in continuing to get better.

“We were prepared well in practice,” Krause said. “We have a lot of players that do not get much time on the court during matches, but they really challenged our defense and offense in practice. They were able to mimic the strengths of our opponents allowing the team to have familiarity of what to expect from both Plymouth Whitemarsh and Wilson. We challenged each other with great defense and serving. This allowed everyone to step up their game to create very competitive situations in practice.

“When we went into competition, it was just a continuation of what we were doing in practice. Our communication and anticipation on serve receive, blocking and defense has really improved. With everyone reinforcing decisions, it helped us play into our strengths. Our goal is to score on transition points. We emphasize trying to score on plays of the third or fourth scoring opportunities in rallies. We have been able to do that with discipline of the players’ responsibilities on court positioning and play recognition.”

Parkland advanced to another state semifinal and the final four. It has become a regular for the program over the last decade-plus.

“The team set a goal to play in the last match of the season,” said Krause. “They knew it would require hard work, sacrifice and unselfishness. Everyone accepted their role to make a contribution to the progress of this group. There were some moments of adversity over the course of the season. The group, through our senior leadership, confronted the adversity and addressed it with everything they have. This is the ninth consecutive Final Four we have made....11th of the last 12. Our postseason record (since match play was introduced) in leagues, districts and states is now 101-11. The girls have an expectation to believe they can compete with their opponents. It is up to them to prepare to pursue the opportunity if it presents itself. Fortunately for us, we have that opportunity. The girls worked hard, prepared themselves for this chance, now it is up to us to have some luck and give it our best.”

The Trojans’ season would come to an end, unfortunately, at the hands of Garnet Valley in four sets in the semifinal round on Tuesday night.