Head coach Brian Dale has built a powerhouse program at Hagerstown. During his tenure the 2A Tigers have won four sectionals, a regional, six conference titles and nine county championships.
During that time Dale has always scheduled a match with 1A Seton Catholic. Last season, for the first time, the Lady Cardinals defeated Hagerstown 3-2, in a five-set match played at Chuck Mosey Memorial Gymnasium in Richmond.
Thursday, August 31, the Lady Cardinals traveled to Hagerstown to renew their friendly rivalry and Hagerstown swept the Cardinals 25-14, 25-16, and 25-13.
The Cardinals arguably had the best player on the floor in All-State candidate Bryn VanVleet. In fairness, the Cards were short-handed because of injuries, but the deep Lady Tigers turned in their best performance of the season, winning each set handily.
Unofficially, VanVleet finished with a match high 20 kills, but the Tigers used a more balanced attack. Hannah Pyle and Raleigh Doerstler each had 8 kills, Hattie Hobbs had 6 kills. Kasiti Ferriell led the Tiger defense with 23 digs. Emma Snodgrass had 17 assists, Ella Logston had 15.
Seton Catholic head coach Emily Tremain talked about the match. “We were shorthanded tonight,” Tremain said. “We were playing with two kids with very limited experience. Bryn (VanVleet) played well, but she can’t play every position. We hope to get our players healthy soon.”
Bryn VanVleet echoed her coach’s feelings. “Seton is small, but mighty,” VanVleet said. “Once we get our regular rotation players back, we will be fine. We recently beat Connersville, which was big for us. Once we get everyone healthy, I have no doubt we will be able to compete with anyone.
Hattie Hobbs spoke for the Lady Tigers after the match. “I feel like we finally put everything together tonight” Hobbs said. “We are trying to get better each match and we host the Sectional this season and we are building toward that.”
Tiger head coach Brian Dale was happy with the way his team played. “I am happy with the way we played tonight,” Dale said. “Seton has a great player and sometimes a great player can beat you by herself. But tonight, we maintained our intensity and focus every set. When Hannah Pyle plays great it seems to make everyone around her play better. I am proud and encouraged with our effort tonight. It was our best match of the season.”
Dale said when he started coaching that if he ever won 300 games, he would take his clipboard and retire. When asked about that plan now his response was to be expected: “We have some good young players, and more coming up. I hate to leave them now.”
The win for Dale was his 302nd at Hagerstown.
A version of this article appeared in the September 6 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.