T-D HS Volleyball

Bishop Carroll moves on to PIAA semifinals

By: By Scott Shindledecker

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Bishop Carroll Huskies volleyball team continued what it hopes is a march to a state championship with a three-set win, 25-18, 25-19, 25-17, over Elk County Catholic Saturday afternoon at Punxsutawney High School in the Class A state quarterfinals.
“This is our first time in the state semis,” Huskies coach Joe Skura said. “Last year, when we got to this point, I think our nerves got the best of us. But tonight, we won and we did it in what I think is very convincing fashion.
“We are certainly proud of the girls for getting to this point. I think the level of play we faced in the Laurel Highlands Conference has prepared us for the competition we have seen so far.”
Bishop Carroll improved to 22-1, 19 of those by three-set sweeps, behind the combination that has worked for it all season – the big hitting of senior middle hitters Sarah Gomish and Hayley Holsberger.
According to Bishop Carroll’s statistics, each player had 17 kills.
“We battled the whole way, but congratulations to Bishop Carroll,” Elk County Catholic coach Diane Gies said. “Those two big hitters just took us out.
“We played well at times, but then we were too conservative and when you play a team like this, you gotta be after it the entire time.”
Bishop Carroll will take on District 10 champion Cochranton Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. Cochranton beat defending Class A state champion Clarion in four sets Saturday.
The Huskies trailed just once in three sets, 4-3 in the third. Elk County Catholic  was good enough to stay in all three matches, but the Huskies had too much for the Crusaders to seriously threaten.
While Gomish and Holsberger get a lot of credit for their play at the net, Skura was quick to point out that it’s a team effort.
“Sarah and Hayley come up big for us every night, but the back row players allow us to play big at the net,” Skura said.
Senior setter Janelle Gueguen led the way with 34 assists while junior Katie Bender added 10.
Senior Rachel Kwisnek led the way with 11 service points, senior Nicole Woomer and sophomore Ellie Yahner each had nine, Gomish had five, Gueguen added three and Allyson Przybys had two. Yahner also added six digs on defense.
The first set was at 12-10 before Bishop Carroll made a little run to take control.
After a sideout, Woomer served for three straight points, including one on a block by Gomish.
Elk County Catholic’s Kirstie Wehler had a kill to get the serve back, but it was short-lived as a Gomish kill made it 17-11. Yahner served for two points to make it 19-11, forcing an Elk County Catholic timeout.
The Crusaders got to within six points, 19-13, and then to
20-15, but never any closer.
Bishop Carroll got a block from Holsberger and went on to a 25-18 win when Elk County Catholic’s Jessica Tettis served into the net.
The second was similar to the first as the Huskies cruised to a comfortable lead of 17-9.
Gomish had back-to-back smashes to build the eight-point lead before Elk County Catholic  called timeout.
Elk County Catholic  trimmed the advantage to 18-14 as Sydnie Stauffer had two kills, but the Lady Huskies had too much down the stretch.
Gomish had two big smashes while Holsberger added another. Gomish punctuated the
25-19 win with a smash.
In the third, Wehler helped give Elk County Catholic a 4-3 lead with a couple of tip shots, but before the Crusaders got any momentum going, Gomish pounded home another kill to tie it at 4 and the Huskies never trailed again.
Gomish and Holsberger were at their best in the final set. Holsberger had five kills, two blocks and a tip-in while Gomish had four kills and a block.
The dynamic duo took turns dominating play at the net down the stretch.
Trailing 24-16, Elk County Catholic  got the serve back off a Stauffer smash, but junior Caitlyn Krevel put the finishing touches on the triumph with a kill.
Skura likes his teams’ chances as they go forward.
“I think this is a dream team and as long as they play their game, we have a good chance to make the finals,” Skura said. “I’ve said it before, they just love the game, and I think playing in the semifinals will be an added motivation for them.”