Bobcats Down Trojans In PIAA Class-A State Volleyball Quarterfinals, To Face GCC In Semis At Slippery Rock High School On Saturday

(Images by Nate Girvan – Above: Aryana Girvan going sky-high.)

The District 9 Champion Clarion Area Bobcats downed the visiting California Trojans, the number three team out of District 7 (WPIAL), 3-0 (25-13, 25-10,25-10) in the PIAA State Class-A Girls Volleyball opening round on Tuesday (November 10th).

With the win, the Cats move on to a quarterfinal match-up with Greensburg Central Catholic, the District 7 runner-up, this Saturday (November 13th) at Slippery Rock High School. GCC advanced with a five set win over District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle, also on Tuesday. The match will be part of a double-header. The first match, scheduled for noon, will feature District 10 champion Cochranton and District 7 champ Bishop Canevin, in the other quarterfinal, from the bracket. The winners of those matches will meet in the semifinals, next Tuesday (November 16).

Tickets are only $8.00 and can only be purchased online. If you hit this link to the Class-A Brackets, you will see a link to purchase tickets, on the right hand of the page at the top of the Brackets. You may want to purchase early, as they closed Tuesday’s sales a number of hours before the match.

2021 Girls Volleyball (

The Bobcats had some great match on Tuesday, only trailing once in the contest, at by a score of 2-1 in the third set.

With a 4-3 lead in the first set, Aryana Girvan broke serve with one of her 13 kills on the night, a number of which were lasers. Jordan Best followed with a four-point service run, one of them an ace, giving the Cats a 9-3 lead. Payton Simko registered two kills in the run. Simko had a three point-service run of her own, with Girvan and Korrin Burns registering kills. Burns had 15 on the night, many in her typical, using the term again, laser fashion.

Girvan’s power, on kills, has really come on and coupled with Burns, it is reminiscent of last year’s one-two power punch of Erica Selfridge and Burns, on the Bobcats’ State Championship Team.

Simko broke served with a kill moving Clarion’s lead to 21-12. Grace Ochs followed that with a three point run including and ace, with Girvan with a nice tip and another kill, moving the lead to 24-12. After a service break by the Trojans, Burns closed the set out on another kill.

(Gia Babington at the line.)

Ochs started the Cats off on the right foot, in the second set, with a four-point run, two of those aces and helped along by kills by Adia Needham and Girvan. Later, Girvan to break serve, with a kill and followed by scoring two points, with kills by Burns and Needham, moved the lead to 7-2. Are you seeing a pattern here? The Cats as a team had forty kills in the match.

Later, three points by Needam moved the lead to 11-3. Service exchanges, mixed in with a point by Noel Anthony, and two more by Best. moved Clarion’s lead to 18-9. Anthony had her usual, stellar night setting her teammates, with a remarkable thirty-six assists.

Six service points by Ochs, closed out the scoring at 25-10 in the second.

After California’s 2-1 lead, in the third, it was all Bobcats. Anthony had three points to move Clarion out to a 5-2 lead. Following a service exchange, Bri Pierce had a point, to move the lead to 7-3. Best had two more, with kills by Simko and Burns – 10-4, Cats. And with service exchanges and a point by Simko, and two each by Ochs and Gia Babington, Clarion’s lead stretched to 18-7. Anthony had a six-point run, with 3 aces to move the lead to 24-9. California broke serve, which was answered by a major, power kill by Burns to seal the set and match.

(Payton Simko at the net.)

Bobcats’ Stats

Grace Ochs -15 points, 3 kills and three digs; Noel Anthony -10 points (3 aces), 36 kills and six digs; Jordan Best – 8 points, an assist and seven digs; Payton Simko – 4 points, 8 kills and three digs; Korrin Burns – 3 points (1 ace), 15 kills and five digs; Adia Needham – 3 points (1 ace), 4 kills and an assist; Aryana Girvan – 2 points, 13 kills and three digs; Gia Babington – 2 points and two kills; Bri Pierce – 1 point and two digs; Taylor Alston – 1 kill.

Coach Campbell was very pleased with her team’s performance.

When I mentioned Girvan, she said, “My gosh, I think she should be ‘Player of the Game’ somewhere. You could make her ‘Player of the Game’. She had 13 kills and one error. She hit with such control and that one tip she took, that was amazing. She played great.” Well though I have never named ‘Players of the Game’, on Coach Campbell’s recommendation, Aryana Girvan is Clarion Sports Zone’s first ever ‘Player of the Game’. Well done Aryana!!!

Asked about the power on kills, shown by Girvan of late, combined with Burns’ kills (reminiscent of last year’s power kill duo Korrin and Erica Selfridge), Coach Campbell said, “Yeah, that’s hard to stop. So I’m really pleased to see her playing like this and commanding herself in the air, to be able to manage. Because she’s got a big jump. But then to deliver again and again and over again is huge.”

And about others delivering on kills. “I thought Peyton Simko hit really well. She had eight kills and one error, just super-efficient from both of those players. Korrin had 15 kills and Adia Needham hit balls; we’re seeing our Middles run a little bit more. Taylor had a couple kills. So I’m really pleased.”    

And those who get the machinery going? “I thought Jordan passed super well. We’ve been really intentional about making sure that we’re paying attention to just getting that ball to Noel, better and better, because we have the hitters, that if she can get them the ball, instead of having her run all over, to chase it down, out of system in a set; we want to keep her in system as much as we can. And Jordan’s really buying into that and doing a good job.”

The Derrick’s Ryan Kunselman had some good questions for Coach Campbell.

In summary:

Coach Campbell had this to say about the Bobcats’ working on the finer points of their game, “I think we know that every ball that we touch makes us better or keeps us the same, or moves us backward. So our goal just every ball we touch, to get better because it takes timing, on this journey for everything to line up right. So we’re just doing all the little things well, to pay attention to those details.”

She was very pleased with the Cats’ serving, and again – details. “I don’t know what our percentage was, but we had some tough balls that we were delivering. We try to attack from the serving line early on, always in that it is our first chance to attack.”

Coach Campbell is pleased with the impact the bench plays in serving, singling out one in particular. “We have some kids come off the bench that have some really great serves. The ball has some movement. Grace Ochs, whenever somebody is struggling, we tend to fill that gap with her serve. because it’s really amazing.”

As to whether the team is ready for the playoff run, Coach Campbell said, “Oh definitely. I think the best ball we play in our own gym, again and again in our own gym, against each other; we have a lot of depth. We keep pushing, trying new drills, new challenges in practice to really just keep rolling and get that one more thing, one-percent better every day, make a big difference.”   

Congratulations on a great start to the State Playoffs!!!! Keep it going, Bobcats!!!! (Thanks to Nate Girvan for his images!)