T-D HS Volleyball

Bishop Carroll claims District 6-A volleyball title

By: Cory Isenberg

ALTOONA — Bishop Carroll and Bishop Guilfoyle have been neck-and-neck all season on the volleyball court, so there was little surprise that Saturday’s District 6 Class A championship game was a marathon rather than a sprint before a huge raucous crowd at Altoona High School.
The Huskies, who split with the Marauders during the regular season and earned co-champ honors with them in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference, used their big-game experience from last season to survive the five-set match winning 16-25, 25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9.
“We worked so hard and so long for this,” said Bishop Carroll senior middle hitter Sarah Gomish, who finished with 23 kills and had a team-high 22 service points. “Our goal last year was to just get here, and this year we knew we had to come through. I think we proved to everyone here that we are a good team.”
Gomish said she struggled with her serve during the season.
“Coach (Joe Skura) told me that my serve had to be on today,” Gomish said. “I knew I had to do the job tonight.”
Just a few seasons ago, the Huskies were not much of a factor in either the conference or the district, but things have changed drastically for the team.
“This group of girls deserves this (championship) more than any group of girls you will ever meet,” Bishop Carroll coach Joe Skura said. “They work hard and put time in both in season and off season. They eat, sleep breathe and dream volleyball. They wanted this more than anything and I’m so proud of them that they got it.”
The Huskies (20-1), who move into the PIAA Tournament on Tuesday, facing the District 7-2 squad at Central Cambria High School, got off to a sluggish start in the first game, which featured six ties, the final one at 11-all before the Marauders pulled away to take the win.
In the second game, after a tie at 5, Carroll pulled ahead and led by as many as 10 points before evening the match.
The intensity mounted in the third set with eight lead changes and 12 ties as the Huskies grabbed the momentum and the 2-1 advantage.
But Guilfoyle (19-2) came right back in the fourth, which was one that Carroll felt slipped away. After a tie at 22, the Marauders won the final three points to again even the match.
“Mentally, we knew we should have won that fourth set and there was no excuse but we had to steamroll through,” Gomish said.
In the final game, Bishop Carroll never trailed and powered its way through to the crown.
“Maintaining our composure and maintaining control of our court were keys to this win,” Skura said. “We knew if we left those unforced errors away from us that we would be OK. We made too many unforced errors in the first and the fourth games. I think in the end, the key was the district title dangling over them. They weren’t going to let those unforced errors take that away. The huddle before the fifth set I told them that this was it ‘you either do it now or you are going to watch them celebrate on the other side.’ ”
Senior Hayley Holsberger added 23 kills for Bishop Carroll which also got 52 assists from senior Janelle Gueguen. Senior Allyson Przybys supplied 11 digs and nine service points. Gomish and sophomore Ellie Yahner each had 10 digs.
Annie Dombrowski had 17 kills and 20 digs for Bishop Guilfoyle. Logan McIntosh had 24 digs, Brynee Baughman had 43 assists and Sophia Griffin had 13 service points.
“Our passing was a little bit off which meant our setter was a little bit off, which meant our hitters were a little bit back and out of their comfort zone where they were hitting,” said Marauders coach Bob Kasun, whose team will take on North Star on Tuesday in the PIAA Tournament. “There was a trickle down effect. But I think that we are capable of bouncing back (for the state tournament).”