DuBOIS — With just a 10-game regular season schedule, Senior Night came early for the DuBois volleyball team Monday night, and the squad sent its three seniors out with a hard-fought, five-set win against Forest Hills in their final home game.
The trio of Blaise Carney, Damon Olson and Rian Leamer were honored before the match, then the teams went out and traded sets. DuBois won the first (25-15) and third (25-12), while Forest Hills rallied each time to take the second (25-18) and fourth (26-24) to force a fifth-and-deciding set.
That winner take all game was all DuBois as the Rangers couldn’t even muster a service point as the Beavers won the set, 15-3, to complete the Senior Night victory.
Olson had a huge six-point service run that featured four aces in the race to 15 points in set No. 5. Olson and Carney each were major factors in the match as they walked off their home court victors.
Olson led all players with 16 service points, including seven aces, while adding nine kills at the net. Carney was right behind Olson with 15 service points, dropping in a match-high 10 aces. He also tied Olson for a team-high nine kills.
Sophomore Joel Puncheon added 12 service points, while Landon Gustafson (7 points), Weston Bacha (6 points) and Chris Warnick (5 points) also made an impact at the line.
DuBois’ aggressive serving, especially its jump serves, proved key in the match despite the Beavers missing 17 serves. They also recorded 23 aces and got countless other easy points off its serving in the win.
“I was concerned coming into this match because we hadn’t seen them yet,” said DuBois coach Jason Gustafson. “They’re always good, so I wasn’t sure how we were going to match up. “I thought we served the ball really tough all the way around. We made some errors in the games we lost, but it was probably one of ur best serving games from start to finish. We also played good defense.
“All-in-all, this was a really good win for us and it was nice to get one for the seniors. Damon always plays a steady game and did again tonight. Blaise started off a little slow in the front row tonight but got going late in the game for us.”
The opening set started off as a back-and-forth battle before DuBois seized control when Carney ran off four straight points and Puncehon three to give the Beavers a 15-6 advantage. Carney had three aces during his spurt.
Forest Hills never recovered from that stretch as the Beavers went on to win the set on another three-point spurt by Puncheon.
The second set went much like the first, only this time it was the Rangers who got the big service run to create some separation when Connor Freidhoff ripped off seven straight points to put Forest Hills up 19-10.
DuBois (4-2) tried to counter with a sideout and three points from Olson, but the Rangers went on win the set 25-18.
The Beavers bounced back strong in the third set and got an early six-point run from Carney that gave them a 13-5 lead. Three more points from Olson quickly pushed the lead to double digits (19-7) before DuBois went to win a lopsided game, 25-12.
Carney finished off the third set with back-to-back aces to give him eight points and five aces in the game.
Once again DuBois couldn’t sustain its momentum though, as the Rangers pulled out a tight 26-24 win in set No. 4.
The largest lead for either side in the game was four points by Forest Hills — and that came early on at 5-1. And, a sideout and three points by Olson promptly erased that early deficit.
Fortunately for DuBois, the back-and-forth battle continued with momentum swinging back in the Beavers favor in the fifth-and-deciding set.
“This group is doing a great job and it’s nice to see them get some wins — and we’re down a man right now,” said Gustafson. “What I think is neat is we just have a nice compliment with the older guys and younger guys.
“I think it forces the older guys to work a little harder, and it’s good for the young guys because not everything is riding on them.”
DuBois returns to action tonight at Huntingdon before traveling to Central on Thursday. The Beavers also have away matches at Forest Hills and West Shamokin next week to close out the regular season.