YATESVILLE — Watch Kirsten Durling, and you will see a player that wears many different hats.
The Pittston Area senior setter does a nice job of getting her teammates involved and she’s not afraid to take that timely one-over.
Durling did a little bit of everything Monday night. She had a match-high 10 kills, assisted on 17 other spikes and stepped up when her team needed her the most in a 3-0 victory over Dallas in girls’ volleyball action.
Set scores were 25-16, 25-19 and 25-20. Both teams are now 2-2 in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
“I told Kirsten from the start that she was going to be our setter, and she was going to need to be vocal at times to keep everything together,” Pittston Area head coach Danielle McAndrew said. “She really stepped up, and has done a great job for us. We just want everyone to be positive, and Kirsten always has a smile on her face. I think that goes a long way for us, and the girls see that.”
Durling, the only senior on Pittston Area’s squad, wears the leadership hat well.
She constantly encouraged younger teammates when shots went into the net or sailed out of bounds. She was the first one to slap someone on the back after a point-clinching spike. But when the match got tight, Durling stepped up.
No bigger was the spot than the third set. Dallas’ Megan Sebastianelli ripped off six straight points early to give the Mountaineers its first lead of the match at 7-1.
But it was a timely one-over by Durling that stopped the Dallas run and sparked the Patriots. With Elizabeth Charney firing darts from the back row and Portia Weidlich dropping spikes on the Mountaineer defense, Pittston Area used a 10-1 run to grab a 13-9 lead; one the Patriots wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the match.
“I just had to be a leader, but this was a total team effort. Everyone has to do their job to get the victory,” Durling said. “Basically, I just want to keep up everyone’s confidence. I think this team has a lot of talent, and I think we can reach the playoffs again. We just have to keep working hard.”
The Patriots jumped out to a 3-0 lead to open the match, thanks to two aces from Emily O’Brien, and never trailed. Durling had four kills and eight assists alone in the first, and Weidlich combined with Scarlet Alexander for seven spikes in a 23-17 first-set victory. Weidlich finished with 10 kills.
Dallas fought back in the second.
Down six points, the Mountaineers rallied behind the play of sophomore middle Gianna Musto, who recorded five of her team-high seven kills in the set. Teammate Caitlyn Pike finished with 11 assists.
Dallas used 6-1 run to trim the deficit back to 18-17, but that’s the closest it got as Pittston closed on a 5-2 run.
“We just have to keep that consistency, and play each point to the best of our ability,” Dallas head coach Meredith Recek said. “I think we have to believe we can play with that consistency. We are a hard-working team, so I know we will improve. Their setter (Durling) had a nice match. She got a few of those second balls over on us, and we didn’t transition quick enough. She saw it, and took advantage of it several times.”
Recek’s group shook off that massive 10-0 run in the third set to tie it at 19-19, but again, it was Durling. A cross-court spike toward the back corner gave Pittston a 20-19 lead, and the Patriots scored the final four points – all with Charney behind the service line. Charney, a junior, had a match-high 13 points.
“Every year, we just want to build on the previous year, and we have some goals we would like to achieve,” McAndrew said. “This is a big win because we didn’t know how this was going to play out. We are progressing, but we have a big one Wednesday against Wyoming Valley West.”
Wyoming Valley West 3, Tunkhannock 0
Tessa Johns led the way with 13 assists, five digs and four service points in Valley West’s 25-16, 25-15, 25-15 win over Tunkhannock.
Valley West’s Grace Giza chipped in with nine kills and five blocks, while Gabby LaBar and Madison Michak each recorded 11 service points and five aces.
Nanticoke 3, Wyoming Area 0
Kasey Radginski had 10 kills and Jilann Baron finished with six kills as Nanticoke defeated Wyoming Area 25-11, 28-26, 25-3.
Liv Astolfi led Wyoming Area with 11 digs and four aces.
MMI Prep 3, Coughlin 0
Lauryn Banyas had 10 assists, two aces and three service points as MMI Prep swept Coughlin 25-12, 25-9, 25-12.
Dana Carrato finished with nine kills, one assist, three aces and five service points, while Elisa Hreha chipped in with one kill, two digs, eight aces, 22 service points and Megan Marchetti added two kills, one assist, nine aces, 14 service points to the Preppers’ win.
Coughlin (0-3) was led by Mariely Herrera’s 13 digs, three kills and one block and Mykayla Timek’s 11 digs, two assists and three service points.
Berwick 3, Meyers 1
After dropping the first match, Berwick rallied to beat Meyers 21-25, 25-13, 25-16, 25-19.
Damaris Ayala finished with 29 assists and six digs, Madison Traugh had five aces, 17 kills and seven digs and Madelyn Pinterich added 11 kills and 12 digs to the Bulldogs’ (4-0) win.
Lake-Lehman 3, Hanover Area 1
Morgan Marchakitus had seven kills, six digs, five service points in the Black Knights’ 25-19, 15-25, 25-18, 25-15 win over Hanover Area.
Devin Lindley finished with five kills, seven digs and eight service points and Ashley Herceg recorded 28 assists and five digs in the win.
Hanover Area was led by McKenna Reedy’s six aces, 11 service points, two kills, five digs and 12 assists, Paige Jaslar’s nine service points, six aces and five digs and Aleasha Dennig’s nine service points, four aces, three kills and two digs.