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Bishop Carroll, Bellwood-Antis move to semifinals

November 2, 2012
By Nate Foreman ( , The Altoona Mirror

BELLWOOD - The Bishop Carroll Catholic High School girls volleyball team is used to winning on Bellwood-Antis' floor.

As it turns out, Bellwood-Antis does a pretty good job of that, too.

Thursday night in the District 6 Class A quarterfinals was no different.

The fifth-seeded Lady Huskies took care of fourth-seeded West Branch, and the top-seeded Lady Blue Devils held off eighth-seeded Ferndale to advance to Saturday's semifinals at Altoona Fieldhouse.

Bishop Carroll sandwiched a 26-24 victory in the second game between a pair of 25-10 wins.

"Game 2 was a little bit of nerves and a little bit of inexperience from the team," Bishop Carroll coach Joe Skura said. "I'm most proud of the fact that they were able to finish it off. We've been at that point this season and came up on the other end of it."

The Lady Huskies (15-5) held a 19-14 advantage in the second game before West Branch (15-3) regained the serve and Madison McCracken rattled off four straight service points.

The teams battled to a 23-23 tie after Bishop Carroll was able to pull ahead by three, but the Huskies ultimately put the game away on one of Sarah Gomish's 21 kills.

Gomish also had 12 service points - including 10 to finish off the match during a 17-2 Bishop Carroll run - while Janelle Gueguen had 33 assists, Ellie Yahner had 17 kills and 10 service points, and Allyson Przybys had 11 service points.

"We made too many errors there," Skura said. "We many too many unforced passing errors that were just not typical. West Branch gave a strong push to some of our weak areas and it got in our girls' heads. I'm just proud they were able to fight through because I was nervous that second game."

"We were actually in a good position because their best hitter was in the back row," West Branch coach Terry Trude said of the Lady Warriors' success in the second game. "We had to make some passes and execute offensively. We had some hitting errors and they made the last play."

After Thursday night's sweep, the Lady Huskies have won 30 of the 31 games they have played at Bellwood in the last two years, defeating 14 opponents and tying Philipsburg-Osceola, 1-1, in pool play in the 2011 Lady Blue Devil Invitational.

Bishop Carroll swept Bellwood in each of the last two invitational tournament championship games.

Fittingly, the Lady Huskies and Lady Blue Devils will meet again - in Saturday's district semifinal - except this time, it will be on a neutral floor.

"The girls were kind of watching Bishop Carroll to see what they did against a team that we know is pretty good," Bellwood-Antis coach Annette Wilkins said. "It gives us a little different perspective. I think the girls kind of made a few side-notes mentally as far as what they think they need to do and where they need to put the ball in order to do well against them."

"They have the momentum. They have that top seed," Skura said. "They're the team everyone wants to beat. We have that experience from being able to play them and beat them, but they are strong all around. They are very aggressive. We're going to have a good fight."

Bellwood also needed only three games (25-20, 25-18, 25-19), but the Lady Blue Devils faced a Ferndale team that battled for every point.

Down two games, the Lady Yellow Jackets had an 18-10 advantage, but Bellwood (20-0) found a new gear.

Emily Hanwell rattled off 12 straight service points to give the Lady Blue Devils a 23-18 lead, and they never looked back.

"When she is on, she has a really nice float serve," Wilkins said of Hanwell. "I think that is what was throwing them. We had a strong server up there when we needed her."

"We just got a little momentum together," Ferndale coach Kim Reighard said. "But then we got into a lull there. They just came back - getting momentum like that, it just went against us at that time."

Katy Leamer had 16 kills and six blocks for Bellwood, while Emily Nagle had 13 kills, 13 digs and seven blocks.

"Our girls are very slow to start," Wilkins said. "It seems like it takes them halfway through that first game to warm up. Ferndale is one of the tougher teams we've faced in a while. They are very scrappy."

In Saturday's other semifinal, also at 12:30 p.m. at Altoona Fieldhouse, Bishop Guilfoyle plays Penns Manor.

The semifinal winners will square off at 5 p.m. in the district championship.



BISHOP CARROLL: Gomish 12, Przybys 10, Yahner 10, Kwisnek 7, Woomer 6, Gueguen 3, Platt 2.

WEST BRANCH: McCracken 4, Redmond 4, Myers 3, English 2, Natalie 2, Trude 1.

Records: Bishop Carroll (15-5), West Branch (15-3).



FERNDALE: Chobany 15, Genovese 13.

BELLWOOD-ANTIS: Hanwell 13, Vankirk 8, Nagle 8, Ke. Leamer 8, Ka. Leamer 4, Mercer 3, Miller 2.

Records: Bellwood-Antis (20-0).

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