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North Penn-Liberty tops Athens, 3-1, in volleyball

The wheels had come completely off the tracks for North Penn-Liberty’s volleyball team Thursday night in its home gymnasium against Athens.

Athens took control of a close beginning of the first set, winning 13 of 17 points after a tie at 12-12, to claim the first set, 25-16.

And, after the Mounties fell behind 9-5 in the second set when Athens went on an 8-1 run, already without their all-state libero Ali Koval, that 52-league match win streak was in serious jeopardy. But, just like they have throughout their dominant five-year run through the NTL and District 4, when the going got tough, the tough got going.

N.P.-Liberty closed the second set on a 20-11 run, and turned that into a dominant third set as the Mounties pulled away to win, 3-1 (16-25, 25-20, 25-11, 25-21).

“They’re workers,” second-year North Penn-Liberty coach Jen Nawri said. “They made adjustments as the game went on. We started getting more touches on blocks… once we got through the first set our passes were much better.”

Passing was certainly a question mark after Koval went down in practice with an ankle injury Monday. Going into a week where the Mounties would have to play undefeated Northeast Bradford and District 4 title contender Athens, it could have been a struggle. Sophomore Chloe Hatch stepped in and has filled some very big shoes.

“She has a calmness to her pass,” Nawri said. “She was thrust into this position (starting varsity), we had an emergency at practice and we said, ‘guess what, you’re starting at libero this week.”

Lizzie Kahl had one of the finest scholastic performances. The senior almost did not come out for the team last year and watched as her team went to the state finals, but has stepped into a role at opposite hitter and thrived Thursday night.

“I knew I was gonna have a big step up into someone’s shoes, so I’m just bringing as much as I can to the team and helping out,” Kahl said.

Kahl was great in all facets Thursday night, but especially from the service line. Her great serving helped the Mounties go on runs in that rotation all night long, including a 6-0 run to put the third set out of reach.

“Her serving was just on,” Nawri remarked.

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