Bucks County Herald

Volleyball:

Pennridge bumps Upper Dublin as playoffs loom

DAVID CAMPBELL

When Ben Chinnici departed Pennridge with his diploma last June, he left a hole in Rams head coach Dave Childs’ rotation.

Current Pennridge senior Cross Edwards knew it would be next to impossible for one man to replace the now Ball State freshman’s production.

“It’s not just me,” said Edwards, Chinnici’s logical successor. “It’s all of my teammates. Ben had some really big shoes to fill – and I couldn’t do it [alone]. We have Zach (Detweiler), a great middle. He’s doing really well. Kevin (Jones’) passing has gotten better. We all fill Ben’s shoes together.”

“It’s everyone,” Detweiler, a senior, concurred. “(Senior setter) Corey (Quaste) has to spread the ball around – and he’s doing such a good job with that.”

On Monday evening, Quaste handed out 37 assists, while adding four blocks and 12 digs, in the Rams’ 3-1 (25-27, 25-15, 25-13, 25-17) victory over the visiting Upper Dublin Cardinals in Suburban One League (SOL) Continental play. The match ended, fittingly, on a Quaste two-handed dunk.

The final three sets were much more to Pennridge’s liking after a barrage of missed serves and costly errors enabled Upper Dublin to draw first blood. The Cardinals led 20-16 in the first; the Rams tied it at 22 on a tandem block put up by sophomore Chris McKinney and freshman Ryan Benscoter, the two youngest members of Childs’ squad. Eight points later, Upper Dublin had its 1-0 advantage.

Pennridge dominated the remainder of the match. Benscoter came to play with six kills and five blocks. His emphatic kill that bumped the Rams lead to 12-5 in the second set seemed to help light a fire under the hosts.

“He’s a young guy; he’s loving the game,” said Edwards, who went for a team-high 14 kills and added four aces and six digs. “Hopefully, he sticks with it. Yeah, he’s doing really well. I love having him on the court. He’s happy all of the time.”

“He’s getting there,” said Detweiler, whose line included seven kills, two blocks and three aces. “It helps that he’s 6’6”.”

Jones finished with seven kills and two blocks, while McKinney managed four kills and two blocks. Mike Molettiere had two kills. Defensively, Danny Rutter recorded 10 digs.

Also in the digs department, Ethan Lionetti picked up six, while Jeremy Pruss and Phil Warnke each dug up four.

Pennridge upped its record to 14-3 overall and 13-2 in the SOL Continental.

“We feel pretty good; we feel good,” Detweiler said. “We know we need to step it up a lot. We’re starting to come together as a team now.”

Pennridge was fourth in the District One Class AAA power rankings at last check.

“We need to work because we’re not where we need to be, but I see the potential with this group,” Childs said. “Our goals are the same. We want to go to the state playoffs this year. That doesn’t change. But we realize that we have to work for that and no one’s going to make it easy for us.”

If the Rams can hold onto fourth, they’ll earn a first-round bye in next week’s district tournament. The rest would be nice, but if Pennridge falls to fifth, no worries, one Ram insisted.

“I love to play volleyball, so why not get an extra match in there?” Edwards asked, laughing.

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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