bsankey@phoenixvillenews.com

ROYERSFORD -- Bishop Shanahan is a traditional powerhouse in Ches-Mont League girls volleyball, and the Eagles are off to another fast start for the 2008 campaign.

Host Spring-Ford is in a rebuilding mode, but the Rams still managed to take one game from the Eagles for the first time Tuesday night at Ram Gymnasium in the seven-year history of the Spring-Ford program under coach Karen Hegedus.

Bishop Shanahan scored a 3-1 victory over Spring-Ford, winning by scores of 25-14, 23-25, 25-12, 25-19 in the best-of-five match.

In the second game, the Rams broke out to a 15-5 advantage, but the Eagles fought back in a game that was deadlocked five times (at 17, 20, 21, 22 and 23) before Spring-Ford prevailed.

The Eagles claimed their third victory without a loss to start the season while the Rams dropped their third straight contest and are 1-2 (1-3 overall) to start the fall competition.

"We never should have let the second game get out of hand," said Bishop Shanahan coach Greg Ashman. "It is a mental game as much as a physical game. You need to stay focused all the time. We didn't in the second game and it showed on the scoreboard. By the time we woke up, they had too much of a lead on us. It is hard to come from that far behind."

Senior Megan Rogowski racked up seven kills for the Eagles and junior Amanda Nickels notched six kills. Junior Clare Keating anchored a nine-point service run in game three that allowed Bishop Shanahan to seize control of the match. She came off the bench to replace injured senior Francesca Divalerio and the visitors were still able to maintain their momentum. Junior Katie Pisano also played a strong game while combining her talents as a setter and hitter at the net.

"Amanda is a junior, but she is really filling a hole for us," Ashman said. "She is one of our only girls who has varsity experience from last year and she

saw limited time last year. She is a strong hitter and a smart player. She knows the game and loves the game."

Junior Nikki Breccia piled up 22 digs for the Rams while senior Corey Trego provided 26 assists. Junior middle hitter Deanna McGough came through with five kills and four solo blocks. Senior outside hitter Arielle Cratensberg produced eight kills, and freshman outside hitter Liz Erdman totaled five kills in the early stages of her varsity career.

"It is just the little things," Hegedus said. "We need good decision-making and to think a little more. It is a mental game and we made some mental errors at crucial times that cost us. But the girls are getting there. I am impressed at how far the program has come. We are working on our inconsistency."

Hegedus thought the Rams' defense hung tough despite the Bishop Shanahan leads in the individual games, particularly the first two frays.

"The second game they came back because of our inconsistency," said Hegedus, who is assisted by Drew Scheeler and Sarah Kalish. "That is something we have to work on with our girls."

Shanahan took a 14-8 lead in game one and stretched the lead to 17-11 before Hegedus called a timeout. The Eagles made it 20-12 before sealing the game at 25-14 with four straight points.

Spring-Ford won game two with two straight points after a tie at 23. Breccia served the decisive point.

The Eagles cruised to an 18-3 lead in game three and made it 20-6 before the Rams called a timeout. Senior right side hitter Corinne Kelly served an ace for the Rams to put the score at 21-11, but the Eagles won 25-12 on a clinching serve and hit by Nickels.

Game four was tied at 4, 5, 6 and 9 until the Eagles took the lead before another tie at 13. Shanahan then retook the lead and kept it the rest of the way with a go-ahead kill by Nickels for a 14-13 lead.

St. Pius X upped its record to 2-0 with a 3-0 shutout of host Notre Dame Academy in a Bicentennial League match Tuesday evening.

The scores were 26-24, 25-13, 25-21 in favor of the Winged Lions, who are coached by Bill Smith

Pius X's Melissa Mansur finished with five kills, nine digs and two blocks. Kate Lesinski wound up with seven kills and a pair of blocks. Amy Guarino garnered five kills plus 18 assists. Chrissy Esbensen produced six kills and seven assists.

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