DuBOIS - The Bishop Carroll Catholic volleyball team saw its magical 2013 season come to end Tuesday night against Cochranton, as the District 10 champs swept the Lady Huskies, 25-18, 25-21, 25-21, at DuBois Area High School to reach the PIAA Class A championship game.
The teams came into the contest ranked 1-2 in the latest Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class A poll, and it was the second-ranked Lady Cardinals who controlled the game with their pace, height at the net and scrappy play behind their tall blockers. Cochranton (19-0) also was backed by a rowdy student section that came on a fan bus, while Carroll's team bus got stuck behind both a train an accident that made the two-hour trip feel even longer.
The match started about 15 minutes late due to Carroll being held up twice, and the Lady Huskies never seemed to get into a true rhythm on the court once things got going.
"They had a feisty crowd over there, but we're use to that when we play [Bishop Guilfoyle]," said BC coach Joe Skura. "We did have a two-hour bus ride and got stuck behind a train and a car accident, and [the trip] just seemed way to long. I don't know if their minds were still on the bus or what. We seemed to be in a slump from the start, and I just couldn't pull them out of that low tonight.
"But, I will say one thing - I would put this team up against anyone. I know we didn't get the job done tonight, and my heart goes out to them. But, they have brought me further than I ever have been as a coach. They are an absolute dream team and a great group of girls."
Both teams struggled to get anything going early in the first set, and it was Carroll that made the first mini-run. Setter Janelle Gueguen rattled off three straight points, one an ace, to give BC a 9-5 lead.
However, Cochranton broke the set wide open two rotations later when Madison Bernarding ripped off 10 straight points to put Cochranton up 17-10. BC (22-2)?never recovered from Bernarding's run as the Lady Cardinals won the opening set 25-18.
Neither team managed to control serve early in the second set until a three-point run by Carroll's Ellie Yahner put the Lady Huskies ahead 8-4. Cochranton once again had an answer and got back into the set with three points from Bernarding before a five-point service stint by Kassidy Dickson gave the Lady Cardinals an 18-13 advantage. Kendell Dickson had two kills and three blocks in the stretch that gave Cochranton the lead.
Carroll tried to fight back late in the set and got within two at 23-21 on back-to-back points by Gueguen. However, Cochranton countered with a sideout courtesy a kill by Kassidy Dickson before closing out the set 25-21. Gueguen and Yahner each had eight points on the night.
The Lady Huskies battled back within a point at 19-18 in the third thanks to two points from Yahner, then four straight from senior, Sarah Gomish, who did her part to try to keep Carroll in the match. Gomish posted 18 kills, one block and the four service points in her final game. Fellow senior Hayley Holsberger had six kills.
Carroll couldn't get any closer, though, as Cochranton got a sideout then got some late breathing room on back-to-back points from Bernarding before Kendell Dickson ended the match with a kill.
"Their height did bother us, but it was more their pace of the game," said Skura. "When we did have nice play, they came back with something so quick we weren't ready for it. We're not use to that, and it's a totally different game from what we play. We're use to running a clean offense and clean defense, and they were just whipping that thing over and we weren't set on defense. We weren't ready for their attacking style."