Entering the PIAA playoffs coming off a three-set loss in the District 6 title game to Northern Cambria, the Bishop Carroll volleyball team faced District 7 champ Bishop Canevin needing to regroup in a do-or-die scenario.
The Huskies went on the road and knocked off the Crusaders, ranked No. 4 by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association in Class A, in four sets to advance to the state quarterfinals for the third straight year.
Bishop Carroll’s victory sets up a PIAA Class A quarterfinal doubleheader Saturday at DuBois Central Catholic High School involving two local teams.
District 6 champion and defending state titlist Northern Cambria (20-1) meets District 10 winner Cochranton (15-4) in the opener at 1 p.m. The Huskies (17-5) will take on District 9 champ Clarion (17-1), which is ranked No. 1 in the PVCA poll, at 3 p.m.
“They’re an overall good team. There’s not one strong person that stands out,” Bishop Carroll coach Katie Wyland said of Clarion. “They play well together, they talk. She (coach Shari Campbell) always has a good program up there. We have to find a way to score, play our game and be smart with the ball.”
Heading back to Tuesday, Bishop Carroll displayed strong mental fortitude to put the Northern Cambria loss in its rear-view mirror.
“It was kind of like they almost forgot about the loss on Saturday,” Wyland said. “They went out and knew this was either win or go home. They played really well together. We did what we wanted to do and played our game.”
Senior Mara Yahner led No. 8 Bishop Carroll with 32 kills, 10 digs and five blocks against Bishop Canevin. Senior Sara Muriceak accounted for 37 assists and 10 digs. Senior Mia Wyland racked up 32 service points, 16 digs and 10 aces.
Despite losing eight key players, including three all-state selections, to graduation from last year’s state semifinal squad, Bishop Carroll’s three seniors have filled prominent roles.
“They’re definitely taking the younger girls under their wing,” Coach Wyland said. “They stepped up big time as leaders. They filled the shoes perfectly. I can’t ask for anymore of my seniors. They go out there and give all they can every day. They try to instill that in the younger kids.”
Muriceak has 732 assists and 271 digs on the year. Mia Wyland accounted for 261 digs and 201 service points. Yahner has totaled 524 kills, 242 digs and 72 blocks. Juniors Madita Dieseler, Ellie Long and Taylor Wahl, and sophomores Emma Becquet and Makaylah Koscho are the other starters.
Clarion sophomore Korrin Burns provided 20 kills in a sweep over Saegertown.
Junior Brenna Campbell added 23 assists and 14 digs.
Northern Cambria, ranked No. 2 in the PVCA poll, takes on Cochranton, ranked No. 6, at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Colts overcame a loss in the first set to win the final three games to defeat Fort Cherry. Northern Cambria is in the state quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.
Cochranton, in the quarterfinals for the second straight year, topped Elk County Catholic in four sets. Senior Cathryn Miller totaled 35 assists, 10 digs and seven kills for the Cardinals. Senior Maria Amory netted 15 kills and five aces.
Berlin Brothersvalley (20-2) vs. Canton (16-3), at Bellefonte Area High School, 1 p.m.: The Mountaineers are in the quarterfinals for the third time in four seasons. Berlin, ranked No. 5, has won four straight District 5 titles and will meet three-time District 4 champion Canton.
Villanova commit Kiera Booth led Berlin with 16 kills, nine aces and four block kills as the Mountaineers swept Geibel Catholic. Grace Dorcon added 10 kills and 15 digs. Lexi Yanosky and Carlyn Hay provided 13 and 12 assists, respectively. Berlin was the state runner-up last season, falling to Northern Cambria.
Canton senior Caitlyn Pepper had 13 service points and 31 assists, and senior Samantha Proseus produced 14 kills for the Warriors.
Bedford (21-0-1) vs. Villa Maria Academy (16-6), at Chartiers Valley, Bridgeville, noon: The Bisons return to the quarterfinals for the third straight season. Bedford, last year’s PIAA Class AA champions, escaped Tuesday with a 1-0 overtime triumph over South Park. Sophomore Sydney Taracatac scored the game-winning goal with 4:06 left in second overtime to defeat the Eagles.
Bedford, winners of four straight District 5-6 titles, has outscored its opponents 154-5 this season. The Bisons have posted 17 shutouts. Junior goalkeeper Lindsay Mowry is the school’s record holder with 66 career wins and 44 shutouts.
District 10 champion Villa Maria Academy beat Yough 4-2 on Tuesday. Morgan Harrington netted a goal and an assist for the Victors. Ella Raimondi, Mackenzie Fletcher and Moira Thunell added goals for Villa Maria.