Northern Lebanon vs. Lancaster Catholic - L-L League girls volleyball

Northern Lebanon’s Sam White (14) goes up for the hit against Lancaster Catholic during game two action of an L-L League section three girls volleyball match at Lancaster Catholic High School Thursday Sept. 29, 2022.

It’s shaping up to be a special season for the Northern Lebanon girls volleyball team.

Behind 26 kills from middle hitter Sam White and an all-around effort from setter Hailey Peirce, Northern Lebanon remained undefeated on the season with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Lancaster Catholic on Thursday night in Lancaster.

Just past the midway point of the Lancaster-Lebanon League season, the Vikings (7-0 L-L, 9-0 overall) lead the Section Three standings by three games over Elco and Octorara.

“This is probably the best team we’ve ever had at Northern Lebanon volleyball,” White said. “It feels amazing to know that we’re making a difference there.”

Lancaster Catholic (3-4, 4-5) was celebrating Dig Pink Night with special pink jerseys, streamers, and a spirited student section rallying in support of the home team.

And after Northern Lebanon won the opening game 25-17, the Crusaders did some rallying of their own with a 25-19 victory in Game Two.

“They were living up to the moment of Dig Pink, which is women supporting one another,” Lancaster Catholic head coach Julie Hoin said of her players. “They started to support one another and I could see the difference in them. They were building each other up and it was working.”

Trailing 5-1 on a trio of kills from Northern Lebanon’s Savannah Hollinger and an ace from Hope Wentling, Lancaster Catholic responded with an 11-4 run to take the lead.

Marina Brazzo had three kills and Anna Dvorchak (29 assists) had a solo block to spark the Crusaders’ run.

“They are invaluable from their positive attitudes, the way they build up one another,” Hoin said of her senior captains.

A block and an ace from Becca MacKinnon and kills by Molly Wentz and Gemma Navickas helped Lancaster Catholic close out the set.

Northern Lebanon responded in Game Three, however, with White recording 11 kills and Peirce accumulating 10 of her 41 assists.

“Her jump-setting was absolutely phenomenal in the third set, absolutely amazing, giving it all to her,” White said of Peirce. “We were able to go middle a lot.”

The Vikings ran out to a 12-2 lead in the third. Two kills and a pair of aces from Brazzo (12 kills, 18 digs) nearly brought the Crusaders back, but Northern Lebanon closed out the set 25-12 with back-to-back kills by White.

“She knows what to do to keep the defense honest,” Hoin said of White. “It kept us off-guard, actually, and I think that was the difference.”

The teams battled back-and-forth in Game Four with Lancaster Catholic taking a brief 10-9 lead on an ace from MacKinnon. Northern Lebanon pulled away, however, with junior Bailey McFeaters contributing five kills down the stretch as the Vikings won 25-16. 

District shuffle

Lancaster Catholic dropped into Class 2A for the current two-year cycle, and the Crusaders entered the night at No. 8 in the District Three rankings, with the top six teams earning a playoff berth.

Section Three play continues for both teams next week. Lancaster Catholic heads to Lancaster Mennonite on Oct. 4, while Northern Lebanon visits Columbia on Oct. 6.

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