By: Garrett Carr | NTL Sports | November 6, 2020 | Photo courtesy Ed Weaver
During their five-year long rampage through the NTL and District IV, it seemed like North Penn-Liberty Volleyball would never lose a big point again. They always found a way. So, when Wellsboro Middle Hitter Shiloh Duff got a piece of a monster swing from Charisma Grega, then got the ensuing set and put it to the floor, the Hornets won the second set 27-25, tying up the District IV Class AA Girls’ Volleyball Championship Match at one set apiece, it may have been a mystery to some how the Mounties would react. The other defining feature of this sensational run, mental toughness, showed up big-time. North Penn-Liberty jumped out to an early lead in the third set, answering any lingering questions, and held on to win their fifth consecutive district title, 3-1 (25-16, 25-27, 25-19, 25-21).
Kahl sat and watched last year as her teammates made their way to the state final, but it was her time to shine Thursday Night. After jumping out to a 9-1 lead in the third set, the Mountie momentum slowed and it became a struggle to produce offensively. Wellsboro got it to within 21-19, but that’s as close as they got. Kahl ended three of the next four points as she had two kills and block to close out the set. Kahl sat and watched last year as her teammates made their way to the state final, but it was her time to shine Thursday Night.
"It feels really great because now I know that I'm a big part of the team," Kahl said.
"I was excited for Lizzie (Kahl) tonight," Head Coach Jennifer Nawri said. "She served well, her passes were on and she had some beautiful kills cross court."
One of the big storylines coming into the final was the status of NPL all-state Senior Libero Ali Koval. Koval suffered a severe high ankle sprain in early October and feared her season was over. After a clean MRI showed no torn ligaments, Koval rehabbed to get back for this very game and she sure made it worth the hard work. Koval was the best player on the court Thursday, as she so often is, and more than once elicited ooh’s and ahh’s among the press on hand, despite playing through significant pain.
"When it first happened I felt pretty defeated," Koval said. "After the first week though I knew I had to stay positive and work hard to get back."
"For Ali, she knows she’s not 100%, but we can't tell, she's such a phenomenal player that it does not even show," Nawri said. "It's so great to have her back. Her determination and her communication on court is fundamental to our team.
This marks the end of District IV dominance for this group of Mountie seniors. They will have graduated never having lost to a district IV opponent of any class, and never have even faced a fifth set in those matches. It is a run people will talk about for quite some time.
"This group of seniors I've been with since they were ten years old," Nawri said. "It's been a long run with these players and it's been wonderful to watch them grow into phenomenal Seniors dominating the league."