Liberty volleyball

JoAnne McNamara sets up her teammate during a 3-0 sweep of the Athens Wildcats to advance to the next round of the district playoffs.

WILLIAMSON -- The North Penn-Liberty volleyball team came into district play as not only a top seed in the AA bracket, but also regarded as one of the best teams in the whole state, and continued to flex their muscles in their district matchup against the Athens Wildcats.

In their first set against Athens, Liberty jumped out to a commanding lead of 9-1 early and played a smothering defense against the Wildcats and played almost perfect in their first set.

Charisma Grega was able to record two thunderous kills from the left side back-to-back in order to extend the Liberty teams lead to 12-3.

After Liberty came up with two blocks in a row and Athens seemingly was unable to compete with the front line of the Liberty team they were able to extend their lead further and give them plenty of breathing room down the stretch. Athens was able to close the gap at 23-12 but Liberty took care of business early after taking their first set at with a score of 25-11.

The next set was more of the same for the Liberty girls, once again jumping out to a quick lead of 7-1. Athens closed the gap at 8-4, but Liberty’s Grega continued to dominate throughout the match, coming up with a momentum stopping kill that pushed the score to 12-4.

Liberty cruised through the end of the set to win by a score of 25-11 and take a 2-0 lead with only one more win needed to reach the district finals.

In the final set, Liberty had one of their first stumbles of the season, making some extremely uncharacteristic mistakes that allowed Athens to stay close early. Halfway through the set, Athens was hanging in with a score of 14-11 that was mostly caused by missteps by Liberty rather than the play of Athens.

Liberty started to get things rolling from that point on, seemingly frustrated with their early set performance, and put together a big run of 11-2 to finally close out the Wildcats 3-0 with a score of 25-13.

Grega continues to build on a successful season, and racked up 14 kills and six digs during the win. Grace Tice also helped pave the way for Liberty tallying six kills and an impressive six blocks on the night. Maddison Minyo added seven kills, 11 digs, and a block. JoAnne McNamara had two kills, one ace, six digs and 17 assists.

With Wellsboro also coming up with a win later in the night, it sets up the third meeting of rival teams, but this time in a district final setting. Liberty will need to clean up the little mistakes from the tail end of their victory over Athens, if they want to sweep the Wellsboro team 3-0 on the season, after Wellsboro looked extremely sharp against the Towanda team later that night.

The district final will be held at Williamson on Thursday, Oct. 31.