Uniontown jumped out early in the first set on cross-town rival Laurel Highlands, but once the Fillies weathered the storm, head coach Emily Konter's team earned a 3-0 sweep in Section 3-AAA play on Thursday at Harold "Horse" Taylor Memorial Gymnasium.
Laurel Highlands improved to 4-0 in section play and 5-1 overall, while the Lady Red Raiders fell to 2-2 in section action and 3-2 overall.
LH won the section championship last year and is looking to carry its hot start into a second straight title.
"The target is on the back having won last year, so we know that it's big shoes to fill that again," Konter said. "Teams are going to be just as hard to beat, but that's our goal."
Uniontown had leads of 4-0 and 6-1 in the first set, but a 7-2 run by the Fillies tied the set at 8. The lead changed hands several times before the visitors took a 16-13 advantage. LH battled back to tie the first set at 16 before outscoring the Lady Red Raiders, 9-2, to win the first set, 25-18.
"They came out ready to play that first set," Uniontown coach Jessy Madison said. "We won the JV match, 2-0, and I think that helped them get going in that first set. It is doable to come back in matches, but the girls got down on themselves tonight, even when it was only a point or two.
"We have to do better with our passing and preparing for hard hitters, and they (Laurel Highlands) hit hard. We practiced that yesterday, and I told them it was going to come. They have very good hitters in the front row. You almost have to anticipate that it is going to come."
Laurel Highlands used its momentum from the first set to jump out to a 6-3 lead in the second set. The Fillies earned a 25-10 victory for a 2-0 lead heading into the third set.
Uniontown had a 3-0 advantage in the third set, but Laurel Highlands used a 9-0 run to take a six-point lead. LH went on a 13-5 run to take a 21-8 lead. The Fillies won the third set, 25-13.
"I think once we got out of the jitters of the first set and kind of got settled in, we did a really good job of moving and talking," Konter said. "We hit the ball tonight, and sometimes that's where we lose it. Tonight, we were really swinging at it and really putting the ball down, and it's all connected. Passing, hitting, it all stems down from one to another."
Laurel Highlands senior Maddie Wheeler had 26 assists and four digs. Fellow senior Emily Buwawa had nine kills, eight digs and four blocks and freshman Morgan Wheeler added three kills and three blocks.
The Lady Red Raiders' Mya Murray had six kills, four blocks and one dig. Teammate Tyannah Eddings had six assists and one dig, and Jada McCargo had five digs.
"They (Uniontown) have good players, they have some seniors now, so you add a couple years of experience, that definitely helps out with any team," Konter said. "They have Mya (Murray), their setter (Tyannah Eddings) and a few other girls over there. It's nice to be able to compete and have that kind of rivalry between the two schools, and it's fun for the girls."
The Fillies host traditionally strong Frazier (3-0, 4-0) in non-section play Monday at 7:30 p.m. before getting back to section play. LH plays Belle Vernon and Thomas Jefferson next week.
"I think our girls know what we expect them to give and what we expect them to do," Konter said. "And that's not really anything different than any other day."
Uniontown hosts Charleroi in non-section action on Monday at 7:30 p.m. before hosting Elizabeth Forward and traveling to Belle Vernon.
"We are going to work on our passing, setting and hitting," Madison said.