The Somerset Area High School girls volleyball team successfully defended its District 5 Class AA title with a 3-0 sweep over Bedford on Thursday night.
The Lady Eagles (16-3), who already beat the Bisons (6-13) twice in the regular season, once again, made short work of their opponents in the district final by scores of 25-14, 25-9, 25-19.
"This was our third go at them and I think we were pretty well prepared," said Somerset coach Alix Rose. "I know Bedford's record wasn't that great this year, but they came in and fought back and wouldn't give up, which was nice to see."
Jayna Coyle scored 10 kills to lead the Lady Eagles' offense. Maddy Ream made 12 digs, Molly Hoover had four blocks and Julie Barron served up four aces.
Other team members are Balee Whal, Kacey Marker, Laekyn Jano, Moriah Judy, Sarah Mitchell, Moriah Proctor, Lauren Mathias, Ashley Welsh, Kiana Rhodes, Alyssa Yoder, Krystal Stanczyk, Morgan Grahn, Colby Keim, MaKenzie McKee, Rachel Swauger and Jillian Svonavec.
"These girls are unbelievable," Rose said. "All summer long they worked hard for me. We had a tough season. We were on the road a lot and traveling far this year, sometimes on back-to-back nights. They were able to pull it all together, even when we had a tough loss. They came in the next day and got things done. I told them in the locker room before the match, 'we've been waiting all season to put everything together.' I really think we did it tonight."
"What's really neat about our team is that we don't have just one girl who's a standout gun," Rose added. "If they shut one of them down, we just go to the next one. That's what has gotten us through so far this season. I don't think teams know who to block some times because no matter who we give it to, they can hit."
Rose, a former standout volleyball player at Somerset, is in her first year as head coach after serving as an assistant to her father Ed the past few years.
"I've been around this program for a while," she said. "Unfortunately, when I played, we never won a district championship. Since I've been back coaching, we lost (in the district final) my first year and won last year. My dad taught me so much about volleyball and being a coach. I owe part of this to him."
Rose also credited the help she received from her assistant coaches, Yong Mitchell, Rob James, Susan Kuzmiak and her younger sister Hannah Rose.
"I wouldn't have been able to do this without them," she said. "They help me so much."
Somerset advances to the PIAA sub-regional round on Saturday at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys for the right to move on to the state tournament.
The matches start at 1 p.m. with Somerset playing the District 9 runner-up in the auxiliary gym. The District 9 champion will play the one seed out of District 8 in the main gym. The two winners will then meet in the sub-regional final.
"We're excited about it," Rose said. "Win or lose, this has been an awesome experience. We're heading up there (today) and staying overnight. The girls will really enjoy it and it's one of those things you'll never forget."