Volleyball coaches hope for late-season tests to see what their teams can improve on for a long, successful playoff run.
Both Penn Cambria and Bishop Carroll head coaches were thrilled their teams played each other so late in the season to access where their teams stood before the District 6 playoffs start next week.
The Panthers pulled out a five-set, back-and-forth battle featuring two of the top four teams in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference.
“Penn Cambria is an awesome team,” said Bishop Carroll coach Joe Skura, whose team finished at 13-4 in the regular season. “To be able to make it five sets against such a strong team that works so well together, I’m proud of my girls. I couldn’t ask for more going into playoffs.”
Each set was decided by four points or less. Penn Cambria won by the scores of 23-25,
25-21, 25-22, 23-25, and 17-15.
Penn Cambria finished their first ever undefeated regular season at 14-0. Although the Panthers won, head coach Leah Montgomery was not totally satisfied with the win.
“They still made so many unforced errors, but you know what, they’re such a good team together. Even when they’re not playing well, they battle back, stay together, and get it done. There’s no drama, there’s no attitude, there’s no fighting, I think that’s what keeps them together as a team, even when we’re not playing well.”
The fierce battle featured 34 ties and 16 lead changes.
Bishop Carroll won the first set behind eight kills from junior middle hitter Sarah Gomish, who passed the
1,000-kill milestone Monday against Portage. Penn Cambria took a 5-0 lead to begin the set but the Huskies kept clawing back and won by two points.
Penn Cambria evened the score in the second set behind six kills by senior Taylor Freeman, who finished with a team-high 25 kills and 32 digs.
The third set featured seven ties and four lead changes, with Penn Cambria winning 25-22.
The Huskies did not go away easily. They came back in the fourth set to set up a deciding fifth set.
The fourth set had 12 ties and four lead changes setting the stage for the deciding fifth set.
The fifth set went back and forth between the two competitive teams.
The set ended up with eight ties, five lead changes, and three different game points. Penn Cambria prevailed by staving off a game point and winning 17-15.
Huskies’ freshman Ellie Yahner had 24 kills. Gomish ended up with 34 kills, 6 digs, and 5 blocks. Huskies’ setter Janelle Gueguen had 53 assists to tie with Penn Cambria setter Kelly Yuzko for game-high assists. Penn Cambria’s Tori Shingler finished with 23 kills and five blocks.
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