Polytech falls to Conrad 3-0 in 2nd round of volleyball states

MILL CREEK — Polytech High spent most of the first set of its tournament match down by 10 points.

Then all of a sudden it was just a two-point gap and the Panthers had a real chance to take the first set.

But the Conrad School of Science volleyball team answered Polytech’s run with one of its own, and took charge for the rest of the match for a 3-0 victory to eliminate the Panthers from the DIAA tournament on Saturday night McKean High.

“I honestly knew my girls had a chance,” said Polytech coach Trevor Bradshaw. “But right there you kind of knew whoever came out on top would have the momentum and we almost stole it. We couldn’t bounce back from that.”

Polytech, seeded eighth and coming off a first-round bye, is still looking for its first state tournament victory. Conrad, the 24th seed which upset No. 9 Cape Henlopen in the first round on Thursday, advanced to the quarterfinals to play top-seeded Delaware Military Academy on Tuesday at St. Mark’s, at a time to be determined.

Conrad (10-7) jumped out to 5-0 leads in both the first and second sets. In the first, Conrad’s lead was 11-2 right away and was 20-10 at its largest.

The Panthers battled back with eight straight points and cut the advantage to 20-18 on Kaylee Williams’ kill. The two teams exchanged points twice until Conrad ended the set with four consecutive points for a 25-21 victory.

Conrad’s lead in the second set was as large as 10-2 before Polytech made it a 17-12. Conrad won eight of the last 11 points for a 25-15 win.

“First two sets you dig a hole before you even have your second server on the line, and that’s tough to get out of,” Bradshaw said. “I give my girls a lot of credit, though, they made it competitive. That’s the kind of volleyball we’re capable of, but unfortunately this season we’ve had a lot of pendulum swings. That’s been a problem for us and tonight it really caught up to us.”

The final set was closer at the beginning, as Polytech held a 7-5 lead for its largest advantage of the night. But Conrad went up 11-10 and never fell behind the rest of the way,
The third set finished 25-15.

In a season that saw the Panthers begin with only one returning starter, they were able to finish 10-6 on the year. Polytech’s starting lineup included three sophomores, a junior and just two seniors.

Given the circumstances, while Bradshaw was disappointed that the Panthers still haven’t gotten their first tournament win, he was pleased with the growth they showed this season.

“You want to hit that milestone, but we went 10-5 (regular season) in a year where we didn’t have a lot of varsity experience,” Bradshaw said. “So to go 10-5 and make the tournament, I consider that a success. Polytech got a first-round bye and it’s a great thing for us to be in that category. We want to continue that into next year and we want to be right there, if not higher again, and hopefully we’ll lock up that first tournament.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.