Oak Hall sweeps quarterfinals match

Oak Hall coach Perry McDonald gives instructions during the Eagles regional quarterfinal win on Tuesday.
Oak Hall coach Perry McDonald gives instructions during the Eagles regional quarterfinal win on Tuesday. (Photo by Mike Ridaught)

On Tuesday night, the top seed Oak Hall School volleyball team eased past visiting No. 8 seed St. John Paul II (Tallahassee), 25-14, 25-18, 25-16, in an FHSAA Class 2A-Region 1 Quarterfinal.

With the win, the host Eagles advance to Friday’s regional semifinals where a berth in the final eight will be at stake.

“That’s a good team,” said Oak Hall coach Perry McDonald. “I don’t feel like their eight seed was indicative of how decent they are.”

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Junior Pene Moser led the Eagles (23-4) with 14 kills, including five kills and an ace in the third set to help send the Eagles on to the next round.

“She has been off the chart special,” McDonald said. “I think her kill tally is up somewhere around 350 or so on the season. She has more kills than any kid I’ve had in the program in the past three years. We’re riding on her coattails a lot right now.”

Oak Hall trailed only once, 1-0, in the third set.

In the opening set, the visiting Panthers (12-15) went on a 7-0 run keyed by a kill by junior Ava Lake and three aces by Blakely Naumann to rally from down 15-7 to within one at 15-14.

The Eagles answered by finishing off the set with a 10-0 run sparked by the play of freshman Haley Janes, who had nine service points in a row with five aces. Janes finished with 17 service points and eight aces.

“She served really, really well tonight,” McDonald said. “She stepped up and played a really nice game. To have her come in and keep the ball consistently in play in a challenging manner, and make them play from out of system, credit to her for serving aggressively there.”

Sophomore Cassidy McDonald (8 digs, 27 assists, 5 kills) had the decisive kill in the first set, which gave the Eagles early momentum.

In the second set, Moser began with a kill as Oak Hall jumped out to an early 9-3 lead.

They never trailed and get an ace from Janes at the end to take a 2-0 lead.

McDonald noted that both teams struggled on serve receive.

“As we settled down and played in system it really created additional options for us, and credit to our kids,” he said.

McDonald said there were multiple things that led to the Oak Hall victory.

“I think that we had some really favorable blocking matchups that we absolutely were able to exploit,” he said. “We knew based upon looking at how they tended to start sets that Pene was going to come through and line up on a kid that was only 5-foot-2, and I knew that was going to be the fatal flaw of St. John Paul.”

Junior Ave Scorpio added nine kills for Oak Hall, which will host No. 4 seed Harvest Community (Jacksonville), which swept No. 5 Beaches Chapel (Jacksonville), this Friday night in the regional semifinals.

2022 FHSAA Volleyball state playoffs

TUE., OCT. 25 – REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS

Class 2A-Region 1

No. 1 Oak Hall School 3, No. 8 St. John Paul II (Tallahassee) 0 

No. 3 St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) 3, No. 6 Countryside Christian 0

Class 3A-Region 1

No. 1 Trinity Catholic (Ocala) 3, No. 8 P.K. Yonge 0

Class 4A-Region 1

No. 3 South Walton (Santa Rosa Beach) 3, No. 6 Keystone Heights 0

Class 4A-Region 2

No. 1 Santa Fe (Alachua) 3, No. 8 Space Coast (Cocoa) 0 

WED., OCT. 26 – REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS

Class 6A-Region 1

No. 6 Gainesville at No. 3 Mosley (Lynn Haven), 7 p.m.

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