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Lady Cats Down Lady Elkers For District Nine Volleyball Title, Finish Off I-80 Sweep Of Title Matches At St. Marys (11/03/19)

(Photos courtesy of Kim Constantino) 2019 District Nine Class-A Champion Lady Cats

The Clarion Area Lady Cats are the District Nine Class-AA Champion for the second year in a row after sweeping Elk County Catholic in straight sets 25-16, 25-15 and 25-13, completing a sweep of championships by teams along Interstate 80, at St. Marys High School on Saturday (November 2nd). DuBois won the Class-AAA and Brookville won the Class-AA titles earlier in the day.

This article is different than any I’ve ever written before, in that I’ll be sharing Coach Shari Campbell’s quotes first. There is no way I could tell the story about the total team effort that the Lady Cats displayed and Coach Campbell’s ecstasy in her teams play, in what was one of the best, if not the best, match I have seen any

Aryana on a powerful return

Take it away, Coach Campbell.

It’s exciting to win back-to-back District Championships. It’s not anything that is an easy feat. Even though we have a lot of them in the history of the program, we’ve been here and lost. So we’re going to celebrate this for a little while.

I think one of the best things we did today was some great serving from our zone servers, like Brenna, K. K., Kate, Grace Ochs. We were able to serve the ball. That made it hard for them to get the ball to Taylor Newton. And then, we had a game plan to put Aryana and Maddie primarily blocking two of the three rotations in the front row. So that she was facing two of our best blockers.

I’m really proud of the way K. K. played. She passed phenomenally. I mean she passed balls on the head of pin and she made sure that Brenna had the ball right where she needed it to be. And then Brenna was just very dynamic and using her entire offense.

You just saw Korrin shining. You saw Aryana from behind her. You saw Maddie and Payton hitting quick. You saw Kate, Korrin and Jordan hitting out of the back row. You saw Kait coming in and hitting things in gap areas and just crushing balls. I think that is just because we have such ball control and that ability to know where w are on the court, that court sense.

These kids have played together a long time. They are quick and they just have a very good volleyball knowledge. They work well together and that just allows us to play freely. And I like the direction that we are going in because we didn’t make a lot of mistakes today. It felt good.

Moving ahead, I like that we are not making a lot of mistakes. I like that we’re serving with control and tough. I like that our passing looks good. And just the chemistry and the movement on the court. I like that we are thinking like a team and not individuals. It’s all about that when you get in the playoff run. It’s about peaking at the right time and it’s all about thinking as one.

Great shot by Korrin

Now for the nuts-and-bolts of the match.

I have seen many athletic contests where this player or that player was “In The Zone,” where it seemed as if the player was playing far above their ability. I think that yesterday, I experienced seeing a whole team that was “In The Zone” …the spot on passing, the great serves, the pin-point tips over net, the power slams over net, the big digs, the crisp passing, the on-target serves, the acute awareness of where the ball was in relation to where the ball was in relation to the lines…

These Lady Cats were just in the moment. How dominant were they. They never trailed until the beginning of game three and last trailed at 4-5, in that game.

K. K. Girvan opened game one with three service points, setting the tone for the day. With the Cats up by two at 12-10, they went on a 13-6 run to win going away. Two key points in the run were Korrin Burns serving five straight service points moving the lead to 20-11 and Grace Ochs with three straight moving the lead to 24-11. Aryana Girvan and Maddie Schill were strong at the net on both runs, as they were all match.

Brenna Campbell started things going in game two, with two service points, and the Cats steadily built from there. K.K had three service points to move Clarion out to a 7-3 lead. Later, three service points by Kait moved the lead to 17-9. Elk County made their only serious run of the match, with four straight service points, cutting the Bobcat lead to 17-14. But the Lady Cats went on a 9-1 tear, highlighted by Jordan Best’s six service points to close out the game.

Jordan, like all the Lady Cats, had a Super Match

Game three saw Jordan with three straight service points, opening up a 10-5 lead. The Lady Crusaders broke serve, but Kait Constantino came right back with a big hit giving the cats an 11-6 lead. Kait then went right to the service line and delivered on four straight points, to put he game pretty much out of reach at 17-6. ECC would never get closer than nine points the rest of the way. The match ended with fittingly with Aryana putting down a big jam on a kill to seal the 25-13 win and the District Championship.

The Lady Cat stats bear out the total team effort this was.

Jordan had 11 points (2 aces), 2 kills and a dig. Korrin had 9 points (1 ace), 7 kills and six digs.Kait had 9 points (2 aces), 13 kills and six digs. K. K. had 7 points (2 aces) and a dig. Brenna dished out 37 assists and scored 4 points (1 ace) and had two digs.

Aryana had 7 kills and three digs. Maddie had 8 kills, while scoring on an ace and Payton Simko scored a point and had a kill.

When asked after the game, about their great play at the net Aryana and Maddie shared some good insight.

Aryana: As a right side it’s my job to say “Ready Up” so that we’re in sync. That helps a lot. Our hits were really on tonight.

Maddie: We’ve been really working on blocking and I did a commit block tonight. I stay over with Aryana and get in front of the outside so I don’t have to move laterally and I just park in front of the other outside. We also worked that triple block. I think that really worked for us.

Yes, it really worked for them and it seemed just about everything was working for the Cats as they claimed the District Title.

The Lady Cats will face District 10 runner-up Seagertown, in the first round of the PIAA State Playoffs. The game will again be at St. Marys. Let’s make sure to have a great turnout to cheer on the Lady Cats.

(Thanks to Kim Constantino for the great photos. GREAT MATCH DISTRICT NINE CHAMPION LADY CATS!!!!!!!!!!!)