Lady Cats Clinch Third Straight, Sixteenth Overall District Nine Volleyball Championship (Fourteenth Under Coach Campbell); Brenna Campbell And Korrin Burns Reach Major Career Milestones (Posted 11/09/30)

(Above mage by Nate Girvan) Lady Cats with District Nine Championship Trophy

The Clarion Area Lady Cats Won Their third straight District Nine Class-A Volleyball Championship, at Kane High School on Saturday, November 7th, with a dominating victory, in downing Elk County Catholic in straight sets, 25-13, 25-8 and 25-10. This was the Lady Cats forteenth Championship under Coach Shari Campbell and the program’s sixteenth Title overall.

The Lady Cats were strong in all phases of their game, allowing them to give up only six service points to the Lady Elkers. The Cats were very strong at the net and had a number of monster kills. They served and set well.

Coach Campbell Korrin Burns and Brenna Campbell who are holding Commemorative Volleyballs honoring Korrin’s 1,000th Career Kill and Brenna’s 3,000th Career Assist.

Senior Brenna Campbell and junior Korrin Burns achieved significant individual career milestones during the contest. Campbell recorded her 3,000th assist, while Burns registered her 1,000th kill. With the Championship and Coach Shari Campbell’s 400th win as the Lady Cats’ mentor coming several days earlier, it was quite a week for the program.

Another major individual milestone could be set very shortly, with Erica Selfridge closing in on the 1,000 kill mark for her career. Selfridge, who has 175 kills this season, stands at 988, needing just twelve more.

The Lady Cats never trailed in game one. They held a 12-5 lead, after Campbell had one service point, Burns with 3 points and Jordan Best with three. Selfridge also had 4 service points during the 25-13 set. There were so many powerful kills and blocks at net during the match, that I literally couldn’t keep up with them.

(Nate Girvan image) Erica Selfridge delivering on a strong return

Clarion opened the second set with a 2-0 lead, on two service points by Campbell. The Crusaders managed to take the lead at 4-3, their only lead of the set and match. The Cats went on a 22-4 run through the rest of the set. A key was a seven-point service run by Selfridge moving the score from 9-6 to 16-6. Campbell finished it off with six points on serve, for the 25-8 win.

Campbell also had four straight service points to open the third set, a ten run, again aided by her teammates’ strong all-round play. Burns and Aryana Girvan contributed points along the way and with the Cats up 13-8, Payton Simko had a nine point service run, to move the score to 22-8.

The teams traded serves twice. Then Campbell had another point on serve. The teams traded service breaks with Burns sealing the with a well place tip over the net.

Lady Cats during post match ceremony.

The Lady Cats, 21-0 on the season will now take on the winner of the match between District 6 Champion West Shamokin and District 5 Champion Conemaugh Township, which will be played this Tuesday, November 10th at West Shamokin, in the PIAA State Class-A Quarterfinals (West Semifinal), at Clarion Area this Saturday, November 14th. The winner of that match will advance to the State Semifinal (West Final) on Tuesday, November 17th, with the winner of the Semifinal advancing to the State Championship on Saturday, November 21st.

Burns and Campbell commented on their reaching their milestones on the same day. Burns said, “It’s amazing. I can’t explain it. It’s almost like these kills aren’t necessarily mine; they’re my team’s and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Campbell added, “Same thing, I couldn’t have gotten 3,000 assists without my passers or my hitters from past years. I owe it all to them. They make me better.

Coach Campbell shared about the two players reaching their milestones and one shortly to follow. “They are just amazing. They both have such well-rounded games. To have the three of them. Erica is now 12 kills away from a thousand. …If she got it today it would have been really amazing. Their ball control, their knowledge of the game, their ability to control the ball just allows our offense to do what we do.”

Coach Campbell singled out several others who have been keys to the team’s success. “And I just think that so many people have come along on the ride. Aryana Girvan is just crushing the ball just as well. She doesn’t get as many swings on the right side, but we want her over there blocking, because of her jump.

(Nate Girvan image) Aryana Girvan strong at the net.

“But then the growth you’ve seen from Payton Simko, from Jordan Best setting up at Libero; just huge growth from them. … and then Adia Needham is blocking so well for us.”

The Lady Cats have shown that they are from the top of the lineup to the bottom. Coach Campbell said, “This is just a huge team effort. I could put any kid on my roster out here and win. I really feel that way.”

One part of the game that the Lady Cats have been strong on is their serving. “We want to serve tough. So we’re going to take some calculated risks. I think our serving percentage is probably above ninety. I’m real happy with that. We want to try to score on that. As we get through the playoffs more, though, it’s going to be one of those things where you start to see better passers. I thought Elk passed very well today. So you can’t rely on your serve as much.”

On daughter, Brenna’s team leadership on and off the court, Coach Campbell shared “I’m just so blessed she’s grown up in the gym. So she’s so mature in her ability to run the court and coach and do it in a way that is respected by her teammates. She’s very gracious and helpful and I love seeing that develop in her. The thing that is amazing, to me, is her error percentage is so low. I think that comes from what she’s watched her whole life in the gym. Her eyes are so good. She reads the ball so well. Her error percentage for her career is about three percent. She doesn’t do a lot of third contacts. She has an ability to never miss, something that allows the rest of the team to excel and not worry.”

Coach Shari Campbell and Assistant Coach Samantha Beichner presenting District Championship medals to their team.

And about the win and some of the struggles to get to this point, Coach Campbell said, “I can’t put into words, what it means to get here. I’m very emotional because I’m a senior mom too. I’m just so thankful to the District, to the PIAA for all the work that has gone into giving these kids the opportunity to have a season. I know what kind of work has gone into it, from my end, to follow all these protocols. And these kids have never ever complained, not once. They’ve done whatever we’ve asked them to do. So it’s beyond just the Championship.”

Lady Cat Stats:

Campbell had 13 points, 35 assists and three digs. Selfridge contributed 11 points (1 ace), 10 kills and eleven assists. Burns registered 25 kills, 3 points and six digs. Payton Simko had 10  points, 3 kills and a dig.

Jordan Best had 6 points, an assist and seven digs. Aryana Girvan scored 5 points, to go along with 3 kills and five digs. Adia Needham recorded two kills and Noel Anthony contributed three assists.