After guiding her squad to an unbeaten record through the first seven matches of the season, Council Rock South head coach Carrie Allen said she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t surprised by her team’s quick start.
It only gets tougher from here, however, she added.
“When you start 7-0, and then you have to see everybody again, that means we kind of have a target on our backs from this point on,” said Allen.
“Especially with things like Hudl, nothing we have is secret, teams can watch film on us and see where our weaknesses are, on top of already (playing) us.”
After blazing through three consecutive road wins last week at Hatboro-Horsham, Council Rock North and Haverford, the Golden Hawks came back home Sept. 19 and swept Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference rival William Tennent.
After trailing the Panthers throughout most of the first set, South rallied to tie the match at 16-all before going on to a 25-22 triumph.
“We started a little slow but we were able to start minimizing our errors after that first set, keep the ball in play and play consistent, serve to floor,” said Allen.
The winning point was had by junior Rachael Buchnik, who recorded seven kills and two blocks facing the Panthers. She and senior Dara Botnick (three kills) are taking up the middle blocker position, vacated by Avery Vaughan.
South entered the season without the services of Vaughan, a recent graduate who earned second team All-SOL honors in the middle in 2022 and Lindsey Korn, who earned first team honors at libero.
According to Allen, seniors Cassidy Melnick and Cadence Palmer have switched off between libero and defensive specialist positions thus far this season. Melnick contributed to the win over Tennent with nine digs and four assists while Palmer added six digs and a pair of aces.
“Both have been doing a great job, defensively, for us,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, Buchnik and senior Dara Botnick, both of whom garnered varsity playing time last season, are rotating in and out of that spot in the middle of the front line.
In the second set with William Tennent, CR South broke an early 3-3 tie with four straight points and led from that point on in a 25-18 victory. The Hawks dominated the third and final set in completing the sweep, 25-11.
In the second set, South senior Ashlyn Dinan recorded the winning point on a tapped ball over the net while sophomore Olivia DeSaro recorded a kill just inside the line that put her team up 24-8 in the last set before Tennent faulted on a serve for the final point in game. DeSaro led the Hawks with eight kills.
“We finally picked up the pace and got our offense into rhythm, especially in that third set,” said senior Edan Kauer who recorded seven kills, 10 digs and a pair of aces. “We had a lot of good swings and moved the ball around a lot on offense, diversifying with our middle, right side and outside.”
Dinan did her part, contributing eight digs, a kill and 14 assists. Classmate Rachel Khelmer, who is splitting duties at setter with Dinan, added a dozen assists and five digs. Junior Nala Kauer chipped in with three kills while senior Yana Kotlyarenko came through with four points. Junior Halle Wilson added a pair of aces to the mix.
For Tennent, libero Addy Criss came through with 15 digs for the Panthers, now 3-5 on the season. Outside hitter Emmerson McElhinney chipped in with 10 digs, middle blocker Kristina Bentsionova contributed seven kills, five blocks and four digs and setter Izzy Goebel added 15 assists to the mix for the visitors.