ELVERSON — Two down, two to go.
The Hempfield girls volleyball team is at the midway point of its pursuit of a state championship.
The Knights got there thanks to a dominant, 3-0 sweep of Unionville in a PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Twin Valley High School.
“We came out really strong,” Black Knights senior Rachel Sipling said. “Everything was clicking. We came out here and we were confident we could win and that's what we did.”
It didn't take long for Unionville (24-4), the runner-up from District One, to find out what the first 20 teams learned when facing Hempfield (21-0).
The Knights have too much offense, from any spot on the court.
Hempfield led wire-to-wire in the opening set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, which eventually grew to 19-11. The Knights took the first set, 25-15.
“We were on point today,” Hempfield coach Andrew Olree said. “We wanted this match. When we were in the locker room, I could kind of see it in their eyes. They were ready to go.”
The second set was a mirror image of the first with the Knights leading 3-0, 4-1 and 5-2. This time, though, the Knights picked up the pace and jumped to a commanding 12-3 advantage.
They cruised to a 25-16 win and 2-0 lead in the match.
Claire Flood and Kylie Ulrich led the Knights with nine kills, while Sipling and Jailene Lugo had eight each in the match. Flood also had a team-high seven digs.
“This is what separates us from a lot of teams,” Olree said. “We have literally a power at every spot, so teams have to pick their battles. If they're all firing, it's a tough team to stop.”
Unionville wasn't stopping the Knights on this day, but the Indians did hold a 5-4 lead in the third set as they tried to stay alive.
It didn't last long as Hempfield scored five straight points and never looked back en route to another 25-16 win to punch a ticket in the state's final four on Tuesday.
There, the Knights will meet two-time defending PIAA champion North Allegheny, a 3-0 winner over State College in another quarterfinal, at a site and time to be determined.
Last month at the State College tourney, Hempfield and North Allegheny split two sets in pool play before the Knights lost 25-23 in the final.
“It's very exciting,” Hempfield senior Graycn Krazwiski said. “It's also kind of nerve-wracking though because you're coming up to your last seconds or minutes with your teammates that you've been playing with since elementary school.”