Lady Cats 2020 PIAA Class-A State Volleyball Champions!!!!!!! Complete Absolutely Dominant Season!!!! (Posted 11/22/20)
(Above Photo by Bri Kirkland – Kirkland Photography) Lady Cats – 2020 PIAA State Class-A Champions
Yes Clarion… Our Own Clarion Area Lady Cats are the 2020 PIAA Class-A State Volleyball Champions!!!!
This is the Lady Cats second State Championship, the first coming in 2012 and the school’s fourth PIAA State Championship, with the Boys Track Team winning back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.
These young women completed an undefeated (24-0) season, by downing the Marian Catholic Fillies in straight sets, 25-16, 25-14 and 25-15, in the Championship Match played at Cumberland Valley High School, in Mechanicsburg, on Saturday, November 21st.
As they’ve done all season long, the Lady Cats, the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s number 1 ranked team, in Single-A, from preseason on, who have won all but one set – all year, were dominant in the victory.
I have covered volleyball for a number of years and I must say, this is the most dominant team I can ever remember seeing. The smoothness of their passing and setting, their net play, their powerful (gross understatement) kills; not a weak link anywhere.
And with all the problems this year has brought, having to follow Covid19 protocols and never knowing if your season could end at any time, this team did not allow themselves to be deterred from following their goal and their dream.
And oh, the way, they finished off their season… Talk about going out in style!
The first set started a little differently than the Bobcats are used to, as Marian Catholic jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But after Coach Shari Campbell called a timeout, calming her team down, the Lady Cats played their game, not letting off the pressure throughout the rest of the match.
From that point, the Lady Cats outscored the Fillies 25-11 to win the set. During the span, Aryana Girvan had a three point service run, Jordan Best had a three point run had a six point service run. Payton Simko served the set point. The Lady Cats had 8 aces and fourteen kills in the set.
After a kill by Selfridge, for a sideout, tied the score at 7 apiece the second. Girvan had a nice service run, with kills by Burns, Payton Simko and Selfridge were key during the run, which moved the Cats to a 13-7 lead. From there a 12-7 Clarion run, finished off by two service points by Selfridge, including an ace on set point, put game two in the books at 25-14.
Enough cannot be said about Brenna Campbell’s setting during this game, during the match and all season long, putting the machine in motion. Campbell finished the match with a super thirty-nine assists.
The third set saw Marian Catholic open with a sideout, to go up 1-0. Clarion returned the favor and with three service points by Burns, the Cats led 4-1. Later, a kill by Burns broke an 8-all tie and five straight service points by Simko moved Clarion’s lead to 14-8.
Clarion maintained a comfortable lead throughout the rest of the set and match, which Selfridge finished off with three straight service points, while getting the kills on the last two.
Dominant match, Dominant season, Dominant! This is one of those teams, we may see once in a lifetime.
A look at the Lady Cats stats shows what a team effort the match was. Selfridge had 16 points (7 aces), 18 kills, 16 digs and an assist. Burns registered 19 kills, 7 points (2 aces) and seven digs. Girvan served for 8 points (3 aces) and had 9 digs and four kills. Campbell dished out 39 assists, to go along with 2 digs, a point and a kill.
Simko scored 8 points (2 aces) and had 2 kills and a pair of digs. Best had 8 digs and four points (1 ace).
The victorious Lady Cats had one last hurrah on Saturday, with the team receiving a Police and Fire Company escort into and through town, from Exit 64 and too the high school The sirens were blaring and lights flashing.
As the Lady Cats got into town, the streets were lined with fans/friends many holding signs, cheering, waving and applauding. The excitement really started as the team’s charter bus stopped in the middle of the 600 block of Main Street, in front of the Post Office.
Off stepped Coach Campbell, Assistant Coach Tracy Durish, Assistant Coach Sami Beichner, Ava Kiser, Brenna Campbell, Erica Selfridge, Jordan Best, Korrin Burns, Noel Anthony, Payton Simko, Adia Needham, Aryana Needham, Aryana Girvan, Bri Pierce, Grace Ochs, Bailey Rupert and Taylor Alston and team manager Aidan Quinn.
The crowd erupted into more exuberant cheers as the team members, wearing their Gold Medals, posed in front of the bus with the PIAA State Championship Trophy and Banner.
And from there, the Lady Cats walked the rest of the route, west on Main, turning right onto North Third, then left on Liberty to the high school, waving to cheering fans all along the way. A number of folks in vehicles parked along Main Street and Liberty honked their horns as the team passed.
A nice crowd greeted the team as they made their way through the parking lot. After posing for a few pictures, the team boarded the bus again and headed out to a meal at Cozumel.
What a fitting end to a day, this team and this community will never forget!
Coach Campbell had these words to describe this “Magical” Season:
“This 2020 State Championship is truly one for the ages.
“The character and grit that has been developed in these fourteen young women is second to none. The season that they have orchestrated and the obstacles that they have overcome are amazing to me.
“As a coach it is so satisfying to witness a team come together and build a bond. When the bond is as connected as this 2020 team’s every goal is attainable.
“I knew a State Championship could be a reality early on.
“A big part of that connection is due to the leadership of the three seniors. Each had their own leadership style and together it was the perfect guidance that the team needed.”
And about her three seniors, who captured a State Title in their last match ever as Lady Cats, Coach Campbell said, “Ava Kiser brought enthusiasm through her great defensive play and practical organization to the team. Brenna Campbell brought a heart that bleeds Clarion Volleyball and an ability to run the offense that highlighted everyone’s abilities. Erica Selfridge brought a quiet strength that built trust and her explosive swing speaks for itself.
“These seniors will serve as role models for the players who will strive for the same goals in the years to come. They certainly have left their legacy.”
Lady Cats Volleyball Team, you make us all Clarion Proud!!!!!
(Thanks to everyone whose pictures were used in this article. I hope I credited everyone correctly.)
(Note: The Team also received an escort as they headed out to the State Championship on Friday. Several photos below.0