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Pennridge reaches district final


Second-seeded Pennridge got off to a slow start in Tuesday night’s District One Class 3A boys volleyball semifinal, dropping the first set, 25-14, to sixth-seeded Unionville.

“We had no energy,” said senior Aaron Ladd.

Pennridge, though, showed plenty of energy the rest of the way, winning the next three sets by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-19 for a 3-1 victory and a spot in the district final.

“We picked each other up,” Ladd said. “We made a lot less mistakes and started being a lot smarter with the ball.”

Pennridge (17-1) advanced to the final against top-seeded Pennsbury, a 3-0 winner over fourth-seeded Bensalem in the second half of a doubleheader at William Tennent.

All four teams will be at Upper Dublin on Thursday. Unionville will face Bensalem at 5 p.m. in a match that will determine the third and final bid to states. Pennridge and Pennsbury will square off at 7 p.m., with both already guaranteed a trip to the PIAA playoffs, which begin on June 4.

“That’ll be a great game,” said Pennridge senior Jude Rotondo. “It will be an exciting matchup to watch.”

Pennridge went 14-0 to capture the Suburban One League American Conference, then swept Council Rock North, 3-0, in the district quarterfinals. The Rams’ only loss came to defending state champion Parkland.

Against Unionville (17-4), after dropping the first set, Pennridge fell behind, 10-7, in the second set. The Rams, though, came back to win, with Chris Cullen’s kill clinching it.

In the third set, Pennridge was behind, 22-18, before rallying. Logan Jalosinski served three consecutive winning points, including two aces. Bryce Ammon hit the winner.

The Rams largely controlled the fourth set.

Veteran coach Dave Childs said he was not surprised Unionville – behind stars Alden Cunane and Austin Edmunds – took it to the Rams in the first set.

“There are good teams on the other side of the net from here on out,” he said. “But we stayed with it. We kept our heads up. We blocked really well. The players stepped up and made plays.”

Evan Jalosinski finished with 46 assists and seven digs. Ammon totaled 17 kills and eight digs. Logan Jalosinski had 12 kills and three aces. Rotondo notched nine kills and three blocks. Ladd contributed eight kills, four blocks and three aces. Cullen added four kills and four blocks. Ethan Vo had six digs.

Pennridge will need that kind of balanced effort against Pennsbury, which won the SOL National Conference with a 14-0 record. The Rams and Falcons scrimmaged earlier this season, and the rematch is expected to be a good one.

“Both teams have good players,” Ladd said.

This will be Pennridge’s third consecutive trip to the district final. The Rams lost to Neshaminy in 2022 and Upper Dublin last year.

“I want it this year,” said Rotondo, who will play in college at Belmont Abbey (North Carolina). “I have to get one as I head out.”

Rotondo was on the 2022 team that advanced to the state semifinals, losing in five sets to eventual champion North Allegheny. A year ago, he and the Rams lost in the first round to La Salle. He thinks the Rams can have success at states this year.

“We’re firing on all cylinders,” he said. “We have weapons all the way around and jell as a team.”

Ladd, who’ll play at Wilkes, agrees.

“We’re definitely good enough to be top four in states,” he said. “It’s about being consistent.”

Childs, the coach for 19 years, believes the Rams can make a run in states.

“We can be dangerous, but there are a lot of good teams out there,” he said.

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