SHEFFIELD TWP. — It’s all about the system.
Brookside coach Ted Whitsel, now in his 13th year, had his Cardinals systematically take apart Keystone 25-15, 25-19 and 25-20 Thursday night in Patriot Athletic play and sweep the season series from the Wildcats for the first time in a good long while.
“These girls have done the job,” Whitsel said. “I just put the nets up.”
Whitsel certainly had more to do with it than that. Brookside improved to 14-2 overall and 13-0 in PAC play. Keystone fell to 11-6, 11-2.
“The idea is you get them out of (their) system and it’s hard to get into an offense,” Whitsel said. “Our serve-receive was pretty decent for the most part and when we have good serve-receive — with our setters — we’re a tough team.”
Especially senior Gabby Piwowar, who consistently either set the ball perfectly or dinked it to the open floor on Keystone’s side.
She had 14 assists and 10 service points with a half-dozen aces. She also had 12 kills with at least half coming on soft shoves that found open holes on Keystone’s side.
“They played our holes,” Keystone coach Rachael Bailes said. “We attempted to play theirs but we were playing pick up so much we couldn’t end up playing our game plan. In the end, that’s what did it.”
“(Gabby) either tipped, killed and did whatever she wanted with the ball,” Whitsel said. “We mixed it up. We’re not just a one-offensive weapon. We have multiple offensive weapons and it’s tough to defend.”
One of those weapons is senior Jeanine Musall, who had 11 kills while making the most of what she was given. Junior Kady Whitsel, the coach’s daughter, had 12 digs and 16 assists. Junior Shelby Kerstetter had four blocks.
“We go over in practice where each player is going to be,” Musall said. “We hit smart. We distribute the ball. All our hitters hit really good. This was the best we’ve ever played.”
“I haven’t seen (Piwowar) play a bad game yet,” Ted Whitsel said. “She and Jeanine and Kady are pretty much our pillars. Everybody’s a big part of the team and they all know that those three can bring it every game and they have to keep up with them.”
Brookside has three conference games left before it can officially become PAC champs.
“This felt good,” Musall said. “We’re so relieved. We came into this game confident but yet skeptical about the whole thing. We’ll play them one at a time.”
For Keystone, it was a long night. The Wildcats rarely got into their offense and couldn’t maintain the momentum.
“Our rhythm was very little,” Bailes said. “I truly think it was the pressure, but all in all, (the Cardinals) worked their defense around and around and around. We were always playing catch up.
“The one lead we had was in the third game and we lost it and never came back. We’re a leading team. That’s how we’ve been every single game. When we’re on top, we’re on top to win the game. It’s hard for us to come from behind.”
Becca Conrad led Keystone with 11 kills and three blocks. The Nagys — Emily and Mallory — each had six kills. Erin Pond finished with 22 assists.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.