DuBOIS — Senior Night is always an emotional event in high school, but those emotions were turned up even more for the DuBois volleyball team Thursday against rival Punxsutawney.
That’s because Lady Beaver senior Lakin Smith, who was forced to miss the season while battling battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was on hand and honored along with fellow seniors Taylor Smith and Emma Torretti prior to a 25-20, 25-13, 25-10 sweep of the Lady Chucks.
Smith, who also attended DuBois’ math Tuesday at Brookville, just wasn’t on the bench but also got in for a point in the closing moments of the third set — which drew a large ovation from fans from both teams in attendance.
“Having Lakin back around is great,” said DuBois coach Jason Gustafson. “The kids didn’t know she’d be there Tuesday (at Brookville) for that game, but obviously knew she would be here for tonight. That maybe made it 9(Senior Night) even more emotional knowing she’d be in the building
“It’s tough because I’ve been around her and Taylor and Emma and they have been a good, steady part of the program for a long, long time and have been committed.
“That’s something you have to give credit for when they show that type of commitment. All three have had ups and downs as players on the team, but they are all still here today and to me is really exciting. Obviously, I’m proud and thankful for that.”
As for the match itself, Gustafson played a host of players as the Lady Beavers try to get everyone ready for a postseason push. DuBois was particularly strong at the service line, recording 12 aces while wining a host of other points off serves that kept the Lady Chucks off balance.
Eden Galiczynski led that service attack with a match-high 14 points and four aces. Jess Pfaff had nine points, while Emma Delp and Ashlyn West each added seven. Delp had a pair of aces, as did Morgan Pasternak, who chipped in four points.
Bella Gregory led the Lady Beaver net attack with nine kills, while Pasternak had four. Taylor Smith added three kills and three blocks on her Senior Night.
“I tried to spread it (playing time) around a little bit tonight, but against Punxsy that’s not something you can do because they are always really good,” said Gustafson. “We had been a little bit of a funk, but I thought the girls played well considering we made some of those substitutions. Sometimes that throws things off a little bit.
“Thankfully, we served much much better than we did against Brookville the other night. We also served really aggressive and scored points off our serve and kept them out of their offense.”
The opening set was close most of the way, with DuBois grabbing an early 5-2 advantage thanks to a sideout and two points from Galiczynski. The Lady Beavers slowly pushed that lead to five points a couple times — the last coming at 20-15 — before four straight points by West put DuBois on the verge of winning the set at 24-16. Smith had two blocks and a tip in that spurt.
Punxsy countered with a sideout of its own and four points by Danielle Griebel before Gregory slammed home a kill for a sideout to win the set 25-20.
It was all DuBois from there.
The Lady Beavers raced out to a 9-2 lead in the second set with West and Delp each scoring two points and Galiczynski three. All three players had an ace in that stretch. Delp scored three more points on her next serve, while Galiczynski collected four more to make 23-11. DuBois won the set shortly thereafter on a sideout courtesy of a kill by Pasternak.
Pfaff (4 points) and Galiczynski (5 points) were back at again early in the third set to power DuBois out to a fast 12-5 advantage. Galiczysnki had three aces in her service stint.
After the teams traded a couple sideouts, the Lady Beavers quickly put the set and match away as Pasternak and then Pfaff enjoyed 5-point runs in DuBois’ final two service rotations. Pfaff posted all nine of her points in the third set.
DuBois (9-3) hosts Central Mountain on Saturday.