Juniata Valley placed second in its pool during Saturday’s St. Francis Tournament in Loretto and advanced its way through the playoffs to win the Silver Division title at the 29-school event.
Huntingdon also finished second in its pool, but advanced into the Gold Bracket. However, the Bearcats saw their tournament effort come to an end in the first roun of the playoffs. Mount Union fell in the quarterfinals of the Bronze Bracket.
The Green Hornets swept both Richland (25-20, 25-19) and United (25-19, 25-20) and split with Conemaugh Township (29-31, 25-16), but were swept by Hollidaysburg (22-25, 21-25) to finish with a 5-3 game record and behind Hollidaysburg in the pool, placing them in the Silver Bracket for the second straight year.
Valley opened the playoff portion with a 25-21 win over Richland in the quarterfinals, followed by a 25-19 win over Bishop McCort in the semifinals. The Hornets then rallied back from a loss in the first set of the championship to defeat Westmont-Hilltop 22-25, 25-19 and 15-12.
“It was a great day for us,” commented Hornet head coach Murf Reed. “We played very well and were one win away from the Gold Bracket, but were seeded first in the Silver Bracket. We took full advantage of the opportunity and worked our way through to the championship. I’m just proud of the team for the heart and determination we showed. We are looking to carry this momentum into this week’s matches.”
Huntingdon opened its tournament pool play with sweeps against Chestnut Ridge (25-15, 25-20), Blairsville (32-30, 25-20) and Sugar Valley (25-14, 25-9), before being swept by Penn Cambria (15-25, 20-25) to finish with a 6-2 game record and placing behind Penn Cambria in the pool.
However, the Bearcats’ day came to an end with a 17-25 setback to Homer-Center in the Gold Bracket preliminary round.
“I felt we played well and had a good time, which is what gave us momentum,” noted Huntingdon head coach Krystal Runk. “Where the scoreboard was, we weren’t able to see the scores and I think that helped eliminate some pressure and we were able to have a good time playing.”
Mount Union placed fourth in its pool, after having been swept in three-set matches by Cambria Heights (19-25, 23-25, 15-25), Philipsburg-Osceola (22-25, 14-25, 15-25) and Punxsutawney (18-25, 23-25, 16-25). The Trojans then fell to Conemaugh Township 9-25 in the Bronze quarterfinals.
Conemaugh Township went on to defeat Meyersdale 25-9 for the Bronze title, while West Shamokin rallied back from a first-set loss to stay unbeaten on the day and get past Cambria Heights 24-26, 27-25 and 15-8 for the Gold Bracket title.