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High School Volleyball:
Eastern Tops Cherry Hill East in NJSIAA State Semi-Final
2nd Consecutive Season To Play For State Title

Thursday, November 15, 2001

By John Daglian
SJSports Staff Writer

They had met four previous times with no clear-cut winner. Each had won a match and each had won a single game. This fifth meeting, in the NJSIAA Group IV Semi-Finals, would mean everything. The Eastern Lady Vikings traveled to Cherry Hill to take on the Lady Cougars last night.

Cherry Hill, the number 2 seed, had defeated Washington Twp. and Emerson to host the game while Eastern, the number 3 seed, had defeated Columbia and Southern Regional. The match meant that a South Jersey team would be represented in the State finals. Last season Eastern became the first South or Central team to play for a State championship.

The match started innocently enough as Shara Senderoff gave Cherry Hill a 1 - 0 lead with a service winner. Unfortunately, that would be the last point scored in the game by Cherry Hill. Eastern took control quickly and decisively winning the game 15 - 1. Their strategy was simply to make it difficult for the Cougars to get their passing game on track. They did this with a series of tough serves and well placed shots. If an easy kill was not available, the ball was sent to an open spot time after time. This forced the Cherry Hill setters, Amy Lejarzar and Elyse Mitchell, to chase down the first ball inhibiting any counter attack. Conversely, Eastern's setter, Kristen Bertucci, was able to distribute the ball at will to her entire team.

The second game proved to be much of the same as Eastern dominated for a 15 - 4 victory. Natalie DiFeliciantonio, Caitlin Cielo, Angela DiFilippo and Jennifer Snyder provided their offense. Cherry Hill countered with impressive kills from Jhane Zarghami and Cathy Girman.

Although they didn't advance to the title game, the Cougars should be congratulated on a super season. The Lady Vikings are returning to the State title to face the number one seed Hunterdon Central on Saturday November 17th at 8:00 PM.

Photos by Art Redd

©2001 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.