T-D HS Volleyball

North Star, Bishop Carroll set to open PIAA volleyball play

By: Cory Isenberg

JOHNSTOWN — The two area teams that enter tonight’s PIAA Volleyball Championships have some similarities and are entering the playoffs as the respective district 5 and 6 champions in Class A.
District 5 champ North Star (21-1) will play District 6 runner-up Bishop Guilfoyle in a 7 p.m. matchup at Somerset Area High School while Bishop Carroll (20-1), the District 6 titlist, will face District 7 fourth-place finisher Our Lady of Sacred Heart in the opener of a doubleheader at Central Cambria High School at 6 p.m.
Both teams have been ranked No. 1 in the state this season, but when it comes to playoff experience, North Star has the edge. The Cougars have won 10 straight district crowns and advanced into the postseason, while the Huskies, who won their first district title on Saturday, entered the state playoffs for the first time last season, coincidentally defeating North Star in their initial appearance.
“It’s amazing to me that we’ve won 10 straight championships, and I’d love to tell you how we did it, but I really don’t know,” North Star coach Tony Crisafulli said. “I know that I have been blessed with kids who are very dedicated and play hard and want to do well.”
Bishop Carroll coach Joe Skura said his players had little time to celebrate their exciting, nerve-wracking, five-game win over Bishop Guilfoyle in Saturday’s District 6 final.
“Our players continue to work hard, and they didn’t want (Monday) to be their last practice together,” Skura said. “They also do well when they have a challenge before them.”
While Bishop Carroll, a mostly senior-driven team, knows very little about the Chargers, North Star, which has a roster filled mostly with underclassmen, has film on the Marauders from Saturday’s championship.
“In watching them on Saturday, they are a good defensive team and serve very well and they don’t make many mistakes,” Crisafulli said. “We are going to have to be able to serve more consistently and be aggressive. Our defense has to be disciplined,  and we need to be able to hit the ball well and for our serve and receive to come through. We know we are going to have a fight on our hands.”
Skura believes his team will matchup well against OLSH.
“We have to play the game that has gotten us this far and maintain our composure throughout the match,” the Huskies coach said. “We have to serve strong and keep the ball in our control.”
Bishop Carroll has a pair of middle hitters that are huge killer queens. Senior Sarah Gomish has 423, an average of more than 20 per match, thus far, while senior Hayley Holsberger has 210.
For the year, Gomish has 42 blocks and Holsberger added 36 for the Huskies while sophomore Ellie Yahner has 40 aces. Senior Allyson Przybys has contributed 88 digs and senior setter Janelle Gueguen has 760 assists.
For the Cougars, sophomore Kayla Rice leads the team in kills with 152. Freshman Jackie Stanko has 57 blocks while senior Kelli Putman tops the team with 57 aces. Junior Morgan Cannin has 162 digs and sophomore Courtney Schrock has 322 assists.
“I told my kids that at this level, everyone is going to be good and that you’re supposed to work hard,” Crisafulli said. “It’s not going to be a cakewalk game, but we have to continue to work together as a team.”