Lady Cats Move On To PIAA State Semifinals With Win Over Lady Huskies (11/10/19)
(All photos by Kim Constantino) Above: The Lady Cats show where they are headed – The Final Four.
The Clarion Area Lady Cats Volleyball Team will be moving on to the PIAA State semifinals, after downing the Bishop Carroll Lady Huskies, in straight sets, 25-20, 25-16, 25-15, at DuBois Central Catholic High School, on Saturday (November 9th). The Lady Cats have had five playoff matches, so far, two District Nine and two PIAA State, and have yet to lose a set.
Clarion played the match, without standout libero, KK Girvan, who had a major medical issue earlier in the week and the rest of the team stepped up nicely. K K is expected to play in the semifinals.
The Lady Cats, who trailed only once in the opening set at 2-1, Huskies, led by as much five points at 12-7, after a service break and two service points by Kait Constantino. But Bishop Carroll came back to tie the game four times, the latest at 20-all. But after breaking serve again, Constantino served out the game for the 25-20 win.
Jordan Best had a number of service points in game two, including three to close out the 25-16 win. Maddie Schill also had a three straight service point run during the set.
Best opened the third set with an ace and followed with another point giving Clarion a 2-0 lead. The Lady Cats would never trail in the 25-15 clinching game. Later Brenna Campbell had a four service point run, aided by a strong cross court kill by Constantino on the final, giving clarion a 7-1 lead. Constantino, Korrin Burns and Schill each had two point service point runs along the way. Campbell had three more in a row, moving Clarion out to a 20-11 lead. The set and match ended with Burns delivering on a big kill.
The Lady Cats, as they have been all year, were very strong on defense, with a number of big blocks at the net, big digs, and hard hitting kills along with very crisp passing.
Best came up big, filling in for KK Girvan at libero, with 16 digs. She also had nine points (1 ace). Constantino also was very impressive, with 14 digs, while scoring 7 points and delivering on nine kills.
Brenna Campbell did her usual stellar performance in setting her teammates up, registering forty assists. She also had 13 service points (3 aces), 5 digs and a pair of kills.
Burns, Schill and Aryana Girvan had strong defensive performances. Burns had 12 kills and eight digs. She also had scored 3 points (1 ace). Schill registered 9 kills and 7 digs, while scoring 4 points (2 aces), and Aryana Girvan had 12 kills, 3 digs and three points.
Payton Simko had three kills and Grace Ochs scored one point.
The Lady Cats showed great teamwork, the whole match, as can be attested to by the players stats. They rallied together in support of K K Girvan and of the team as a whole. Their unselfish play and demonstration of teamwork served them well this year and is the key that has led them to the State Final Four.
After the match, Coach Campbell said, “…We’re a very defensive team. Jordan Best could’ve been wearing the libero vest all year. She’s a great defender. KK had a medical emergency, that was kind of life threatening. She’s doing well now and had been cleared to play, limited today, and better next week.”
On the Lady Cats TEAM mentality she said, “It’s not about one person. It’s about one team. The strength of the wolf is the pack, the strength of the pack is the wolf. And that’s what it’s about. I can’t say anything about one individual than about the other.
“That’s what it is. That’s a team being a team and that’s what it takes to win it all. These are great volleyball players and this is a great team. They trust each other. And when you have the freedom that comes from trust, to just go, this is what you see.”
About stepping in for KK Girvan, Best said, “Well I knew I had to step it up, because we just lost our star libero. So I knew that in order to keep going on (further) into the playoffs, I needed to step it up and play well.”
Of her teammates play, she said, “They played amazing, as always. They backed me up. They were just awesome out there today.”
Constantino speaking about Best’s performance said, “She was phenomenal. I tell you she is the best passer I’ve ever seen, just coming in. And she showed up, she showed up big time. She was just amazing tonight.”
She also had praise for Aryana Girvan, “Aryana, she’s a freshman. This was a huge game. She hasn’t experienced it before. And she just comes up. And she is so calm. She hits calm, she knows where to put the ball and she is so smart.”
And on the teams powerful shots over net that have really been on display of late, Constantino said, “That’s something we’ve been working on in practice, everyday. And it shows, not one of us is weak. We are so strong and put together, there is no one weak on our team.
Finally, I feel nothing could sum up this team better than Kim Constantino’s quote on Facebook, “FAMILY. TEAM. No better words to describe what’s going on with Clarion Volleyball this year. Each girl is stepping up in a big way! Super proud of every lady on this team! Keep pushing towards your goals, ladies!!”
Clarion, the PIAA number one ranked and District 9 champion, will face the number two ranked and District 6 champion Lady Colts of Northern Cambria, at 6:00PM, this coming Tuesday (November 12th), at Clearfield High School.
The winner of that contest will face the winner of the other semifinal match-up, between number three ranked and District 11 champion Nativity BVM Green Wave and number five ranked and District 5 champion Berlin Brothersvalley Lady Mountaineers, next Saturday (November, 16th) at 10:30AM at Cumberland Valley High School, in Mechanicsburg.
(Thanks to Kim Constantino for her photos. Congratulations Lady Cats!!!! Keep it going!!!!)