Sophomore Courtney Hamilton hammers the ball for the host SCH Lions, who knocked off Academy of the New Church in three straight games last Thursday. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The girls’ athletic teams from Academy of the New Church and Springside Chestnut Hill are both nicknamed “Lions,” and the volleyball squads from the two schools were at leonine loggerheads last Thursday afternoon in the Vare Fieldhouse in Chestnut Hill.

For the second time this season SCH swept New Church, 3-0, this time outscoring the Bryn Athyn bunch 75-26 in total points.

In the opening set, the host Lions forced an early time-out by ANC as they jumped ahead, 5-1. With steady defense and strong serving from senior Elana Roadcloud and junior Gianna Pownall, SCH just kept the ball in play and let the visitors make the mistakes as the score mounted to 12-4.

After that, New Church slowed the home team down a little, but never really got back into contention. The visitors picked up their final side-out when an SCH serve wound up in the net to make it 24-15, but ANC then committed a serving error of its own to give up set point to the Hill girls.

The out-of-town Lions seemed to become more discouraged as the match went on, and they only scored in single figures in each of the last two sets. With sophomore Courtney Hamilton beginning the second round at the service line, Roadcloud scored a hit for the first point and the SCH Lions charged to a 7-0 lead. Soon, the hosts had matched the 12-4 advantage they enjoyed in the middle of the first set.

From there, kills by Roadcloud began and ended a 7-0 surge that gave the home team total control, with freshman Brigit McDermott serving for most of those points. Once again, ANC handed over the ball for the final time thanks to a serving error, with the score 23-7. A scoring tip by junior Michelle Cybularz and an ANC hit out over the sideline wrapped up the set for SCH.

Roadcloud continued to play well in the middle and McDermott delivered a true service ace as SCH romped to a 14-1 advantage in the third set. Pownall scored twice on well-placed passes and ANC never put together two points in a row as the local Lions rolled, 25-4.

UPDATE:  The SCH netters notched another 3-0 triumph on Friday afternoon, when they traveled to the Feltonville section of the city to tackle the Community Academy of Philadelphia. The victory brought the Lions back to the .500 mark for the season overall, at 7-7.