Number 1 Lady Cats Down Number 2 West Shamokin In Straight Sets In PIAA State Quarterfinal Matchup (Posted 11/15/20)
(Action photos by Nate Girvan) Above: Aryana Girvan had a strong match at the net.
The Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association’s (PVCA’s) Number 1 and Number 2 ranked teams, District 9 champion Clarion Area Lady Cats, and District 6 champion West Shamokin Lady Wolves met in the PIAA State Class-A Quarterfinals, at Clarion on Saturday (November 14th), with the Number 1 Lady Cats coming away with a convincing three set (25-10, 25-23, 25-11 win). Clarion advances a Semifinal matchup, on Tuesday (November 17th), where they will face District 7 (WPIAL) champion Bishop Canevin the Number 3 ranked team, at Bishop Canevin. The contest is set for a 6:00PM start.
The winner of that match will advance to the State Championship Match, on Saturday (November 21st) at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, to face the winner of the other Semifinal Match, between Number 4 ranked, District 11 Champion Marion Catholic and Number 6 ranked, District 1 Champion Sacred Heart Academy.
The Lady Cats never trailed in Saturday’s contest.
Set one opened with West Shamokin serving and after a sideout and three service points by Korrin Burns, the Lady Cats led 4-0. Clarion moved out to a 17-5 lead, after three-service point run by Brenna Campbell, Erica Selfridge also had a three-point run during the stretch. The 23-10 set ended with Selfridge breaking service with a kill.
The second set looked like it would be more of the same, with the Bobcats rolling at 19-10, helped in part by a three service point run by Jordan Best. But after a West Shamokin sideout and four points on serve by Abigail Osterling the Clarion lead was cut to four points, 19-15.
Later, the Lady Cats broke service, on a kill by Selfridge to give Clarion a 21-17 lead. The kill was number 1,000 for Selfridge’s career. She joined Burns who achieved the milestone in the District 9 final, last Saturday (November 7th). In a year of milestones, Campbell recorded her 3,000th career assist, in the District championship match, while Coach Shari Campbell got her 400th win as Clarion’s mentor earlier that week.
The set would come down to the wire as West Shamokin’s Lily Jordan had three service points to move the Wolves to within one point at 24-23. But a shot by the Wolves was long and the Cats secured the 25-23 win.
After surviving the second set scare, the Lady Cats moved out to a 3-0 lead, with Burns getting a kill on a side out and two service points by Aryana Girvan. The teams traded sideouts and then Best served for four points giving Clarion a 9-2 lead. Later a three-point service run by Grace Ochs had the Bobcats up 23-9 and with the score at 24-11, Burns sealed the match with a kill.
Throughout the match, the Cats had great play at the net with blocks and kills, fine serving and setting. Just a nice all-round effort.
Selfridge had 10 points (1 ace), 15 kills and ten digs. Best registered 10 points (1 ace), 6 digs and an assist. Burns had 8 points (1 ace), 14 kills and seven digs. Campbell dished out 30 assists and also recorded 6 points (1 ace) and seven digs.
Girvan had 4 points (2 aces), 7 kills and seven digs. Ochs scored 3 points (1 ace) and had one dig. Payton Simko had 2 points (1 ace) and three kills. Ava Kiser had one dig.
Coach Campbell had praise for the Wolves, who had some setbacks that hurt their cause. “They’re a great team. I consider this to be probably one of the best matches we’re going to see through the bracket. We were really prepared for them to come at us. Their setter was great. Twenty-five (Lexi Young) was a great hitter. I know she’s injured. If we would have seen her at one hundred percent, it would have been a different story. And they were missing their other outside hitter (Madison McConnell), due to Covid quarantine. So they are definitely an amazing team.”
Coach Campbell shared her pride in her squad, saying, “But it feels great for this group to make it through. There’s just so much adversity this year. There’s so much grit you have to have to just be in the next round. So I’m really proud of us.”
She also stated, “It’s really always been the mindset. We will play anyone, anywhere, any division. And we won’t back down.”
When asked about the team’s goal every year being to reach the Semifinals and beyond, by Courier Express and Tri-County Weekend sports editor Chris Wechtenheiser, Coach Campbell responded, “I know it’s the goal every year. And every team is capable of achieving it. Honestly, I’m so proud of the legacy that has come before. This team has the connection, and a grit together; that’s very special. That sets teams apart. We’re going to rely on that as we go through here.
Coach Campbell is enjoying the ride and the milestones recently achieved by Brenna Campbell, Burns and Selfridge and the team milestone. “It’s just so fun. To think in August we were possibly not going to have a season, to be able to celebrate so many things, so many great seniors, so many great players. I was surprised. I didn’t know it was 400 (wins). I don’t really keep track. Keep going, keep plugging. That 400 represents so many great players, so many great years, so many great memories. It’s just fun to relive those and have those kids reach out and say something to congratulate me and remind me and say “Oh remember when…” That’s what it’s really about, the memories, the journey that they take together. And to have so much joy, right now and being able to celebrate so many things. It’s just very special, because that’s not the case in the world for a lot of people. We are very thankful.”
On how it feels getting kill 1,000 Selfridge said, “It feels pretty good.: She also added, “I’m just happy we were able to win today. I think we played really great as a team together.”
And on all the milestones being achieved this season, she said, “I think it is good for individuals. But the team is more important at this time… But I think they are great.
(Thanks to Nate Girvan for his photos. Congratulations and continued success on this wonderful journey, Lady Cats!!!!)