B-A volleyball team advances to semifinals

The Bellwood-Antis girls volleyball team opened the first round of District 6-A playoffs on Thursday evening at the Bellwood-Antis Senior High School gymnasium.
The Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils, seeded second to two-time defending District champion and defending 2005 PIAA state champion Northern Cambria, won three straight games over seventh seed Juniata Valley 28-26, 25-11 and 25-11.
The three-straight didn’t come easy however. The first game went back and forth, with the pumped up Lady Hornets (13-7) staying with the Bellwood-Antis girls (16-3).
The Lady Blue Devils jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but Juniata Valley was able to fight their way back to tie it at 16-16. The two MAC Division III foes would fight it out, with six more ties before the Chelsea Wilson-led Bellwood-Antis squad pulled out a 28-26 win.
That tough loss seemed to take a lot of the fight out of the Lady Hornets, whose sting never again was so venomous.
Bellwood-Antis won the final two games by identical 25-11 scores to advance to the semifinals.
This was the third straight win by B-A over Juniata Valley this season, following two wins during the regular season. In their first encounter at Alexandria on Sept. 13, although Bellwood-Antis won the match three games to one, that third game loss was the Lady Blue Devils’ first game lost after a streak of 75 straight wins, going back to the 2004-05 season.
Wilson, a junior who finished with 11 kills, 11 service points and four blocks has been the Lady Blue Devils leader all year on the court, continuing the excellent play at Bellwood-Antis which has never lost a division game.
Lauren Leap had 27 assists and six service points for B-A, and Rachel Albright added a match-best 15 service points.
Bellwood-Antis will next play Penns Manor at the Altoona Fieldhouse on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the D-6A semifinals. Penns Manor (12-5), the sixth seed, defeated third seeded Bishop Guilfoyle 25-19, 25-14, 25-23 on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals. BG has handed Bellwood-Antis two of their three losses during the regular season.