Saegertown proves too tough for Cochranton in 3-1 win

May 1—COCHRANTON — In a rematch of a five-set battle earlier this month, Saegertown reigned supreme once again on Tuesday.

The Panthers beat Cochranton 3-1 (25-22, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21) at The Bird Cage on Tuesday.

Saegertown led 12-6 in the fourth set and seemed to be on the verge of closing out the match, but the Cards didn't quit. Cochranton head coach Rob Cierniakoski called a timeout and rallied his troops.

Cochranton started to rattle off points while the Panthers made several hitting errors, which allowed the set to draw closer. The Cardinals drew within two points on two separate occassions but ran out of steam. Saegertown finished on a 3-0 run to close the match.

"I think a couple of the sets we got down kind of big, six or seven points. We started to change the momentum and get the score close but we didn't play with the emotion we needed to close it out," Cierniakoski said. "That's something we definitely need to step up next time."

Saegertown head coach Justin Johnson was satisfied to walk out with a win, but wanted a cleaner performance from his Panthers.

"I'm happy that we won. We haven't won over here in a while and haven't been real successful against these guys for the last couple years," Johnson said. "It was good to get a win, but we need to get more consistent if we want to get to where we need to be at the end of the year."

Saegertown fought back from early deficits in the first two sets. After trailing 4-0 in the opener, the Panthers played even til the end. With a 22-21 lead, Cody Huson delivered on two strong kills and Collin Jones' spike ended the set in the Panthers' favor.

In the second, the Panthers fought back from an 11-6 deficit. With a tie a 21, 23 and 24, a Noah Cummings spike and Saegertown hitting error evened the match at 1.

Saegertown controlled the third set by a handful of points throughout the majority, but the Cards kept it close at the end. Cochranton's late run in the third and fourth sets points to something Johnson hopes to see his team improve on — consistency.

"We've had consistency problems all year. We look great for a bunch of points then we don't look so good for a bunch of points," Johnson said. "It's something I was hoping we'd be getting away from at this point in the season with only a week and a half of this left. We have to get more consistent and play better.

"When we passed the ball well and we could have all of our hitting options I thought we played pretty well. We didn't have too great of ball control sometimes and it hurts."

Scott finished with 36 assists for the Panthers. Huson led the offense with 18 kills. Jones had 15 digs and 10 kills while Sam Draa added 12 digs and seven kills. Mason Allio paced the defense with 19 digs.

Saegertown is 7-0 in region action and 9-1 overall. The Panthers are set to meet region leader Meadville at Meadville Area Senior High School's House of Thrills on Thursday.

The Cardinals were led by seniors Dawson Carroll and Noah Cummings with 45 assists and 14 kills, respectively. Brady Rynd added 13 kills.

Cochranton is 6-1 in the region and 7-3 overall. The Cards will host Cambridge Springs on Thursday.

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at