CRESSON - The brooms were out at Penn Cambria High School on Wednesday night, but they weren't used to help clean up after Hurricane Sandy.
Instead, a pair of sweeps made for a quick evening of girls volleyball in the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals.
Second-seeded Penn Cambria certainly looked like a team on a mission with a dominating win over seventh-seeded Penns Valley, and sixth-seeded Ligonier Valley pulled off a mild upset over third-seeded Huntingdon.
According to coach Leah Montgomery, the Lady Panthers weren't even playing their best despite crushing Penns Valley, 25-14, 25-9, 25-9.
"We've got to play better," she said. "The level of play improves with each round you advance to. They were soft of off tonight, but they came together as a team."
"I think they're a very solid, well-coached team," Penns Valley coach Joi McKenzie said. "Offensively, they are hands-down the best team that we've seen all year, so it was an adjustment for us."
The only stretch of the match Penn Cambria showed any signs struggle was midway through the first game.
The Lady Panthers (19-0) built a 19-6 advantage, but Penns Valley (8-8) chipped away, getting as close as 19-12 before Penn Cambria regrouped, put the hammer down and made short work of its overmatched counterparts.
Taylor Freeman had 16 digs and 12 kills, Kelly Yusko had 26 assists, and Tori Shingler tallied 12 kills for a potent Penn Cambria lineup. Karissa Buzzella and Lily Krull added 13 and 10 service points, respectively.
"The good thing is that they play as a team," Montgomery said. "When it comes down to it, they group together as a team and that's what gets them through when they're not playing well. Because when they play well, they can look really good."
Penn Cambria will play Ligonier Valley in today's semifinal at Philipsburg.
Ligonier Valley dethroned defending district champion Huntingdon, 25-20, 25-15, 25-19, in Wednesday's first match.
"We weren't on top of our game at all," Huntingdon coach Olivia Hallahan said of the loss. "But regardless of all of this, the girls had a good season."
Huntingdon got off to a quick start and out to a 6-2 lead early in the first game, but momentum quickly shifted.
Six unforced errors and a pair of kills later, Ligonier Valley (13-5) took control and had a 13-7 advantage. The lead ballooned to nine on three more Lady Bearcat miscues.
Mackenzie Garner served Huntingdon (12-3) back to within three late in the game, but the Lady Rams responded and closed out with the 25-20 win.
"We started off strong, but once we let them have the momentum, we could never really get it back," Hallahan said. "The girls needed to be mentally prepared. We were just being cautious. We weren't going up to win the point."
"The first game was the key," Ligonier Valley coach Amy McLaughin said. "The girls played extremely well coming off of four days with no practice because of the storm. We came out solid and really performed."
Aside from a strong battle to open the third game, it was virtually no contest the rest of the way as Ligonier Valley avenged a quarterfinal loss to Huntingdon last season.
Garner finished with 12 service points, 12 kills and eight digs. Haleigh Heaton had 14 digs and 13 service points for the Lady Bearcats.
The Lady Rams' Kyra Ludwig had 15 digs, 13 kills and 10 service points, while Rachel Wallace added 14 digs and eight service points.
"The girls just came together," McLaughlin said. "The momentum went our way and we just took everything. We played very, very well."
The Lady Rams now face the daunting task of playing a very strong Penn Cambria team.
The Lady Panthers defeated Ligonier Valley in a tournament earlier this season.
"I'm sure they're up and will be ready to play," Montgomery said of Ligonier Valley. "They were really excited at the end of their match. We're going to have to really play our game."
"We're just going to have to be on our game and mistakes are going to have to be minimal," McLaughlin said. "We are going to have to play extremely solid in order to upset them."
LIGONIER VALLEY 3, HUNTINGDON 0
LIGONIER VALLEY: Ludwig 10, Kromel 8, Wallace 8, Lear 7, Hall 4, Yeskey 1.
HUNTINGDON: Heaton 13, Garner 12, Sloan 6, Romano 5, Glover 4, Low 4.
Records: Ligonier Valley (13-5), Huntingdon (12-3).
PENN CAMBRIA 3, PENNS VALLEY 0
PENNS VALLEY: Lyons 4, Struble 2, Bracken 2, Emel 1.
PENN CAMBRIA: Buzzella 13, Krull 10, Gawel 9, Yusko 8, Strittmatter 4, Sheehan 4, Freeman 3, Shingler 2.
Records: Penns Valley (8-8), Penn Cambria (19-0).