Obama Academy's trip to Altoona actually took longer than its volleyball match with Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic on Wednesday night at the Pleasant Valley gym.
The District 6 Class AA champion Marauders flexed their muscles and overpowered the visitors from Pittsburgh in straight sets, 25-13, 25-16, 25-17, much to the delight of the big BG crowd. The match lasted only 55 minutes.
The Marauders swept Forest Hills in the D6-AA finals Tuesday at Tyrone and were right back at it 24 hours later in the PIAA state play-in match against the District 8 champions.
The match was originally scheduled for Saturday, but Obama had a scheduling conflict, according to BG coach Bob Kasun, who noted BG has graduation mass tonight and graduation Friday.
"It wasn't ideal to play back-to-back," Kasun said, "but our guys want to play. They don't want to practice."
Adam Horell and Ben Kasun agreed with the coach's assessment.
"Honestly, I think it was a blessing in disguise," right-side hitter Horell said. "We didn't have too much time to rest. We came out hot after last night's win and we're used to it [back-to-back] because of tournaments."
The Marauders had seen Obama in the Our Lady of Sacred Heart Tournament in Pittsburgh a couple of weekends ago and had an idea of the Pittsburgh team's style of play.
"We played them last year in the same [play-in] game," Horell noted, "but, from what we saw at the tournaments, they were a lot better than last year.
"Coach told us to play our game, hit where we saw openings and aim for hands, things like that," said Horell, who had six kills and four blocks. "We were aiming for the back corners because they were kind of lax covering those [areas]."
"We were still on the high from getting the D6 championship," Ben Kasun said. "We came in a little early today, got our work in and were mentally prepared."
Ben Kasun is a big part of the senior-dominated Marauder squad.
"We've been exposed to all of the best teams in the state," he said. "We feel prepared that we can match up with any team we meet. We just have to play to our best, like we have been. I think we're hitting our peak now, and that's the most important thing."
Ben Kasun said the Eagles' outside block was a little timid and the Marauders were able to take advantage.
"Tipping was a big part, too," he said, "and we could exploit that."
Ben Kasun had another big statistical night with 32 assists. He also had four service points, six kills and six digs.
The Marauders also swept Obama Academy in the play-in round last year in Pittsburgh, but Coach Kasun agreed the Eagles were much better this season, despite the same result.
"We had our guard up," Kasun said. "We were ready for them.
"Like any opponent, we thought if we could serve aggressively - that's the first offensive weapon - it would knock them out of system, and they weren't able to do what they wanted to do.
"Our jump servers from Jamey Brumbaugh to Damon Rickens to Sam Keating to Ben [Kasun] ... we keep coming after people," the coach said. "I think that's what makes us a tough team. We just don't do one thing."
Ambridge, No. 1 in the state, and Derry, No. 3, play tonight for the WPIAL title and BG, which is ranked sixth, plays the loser of that one in a Round of 16 match next Wednesday at a D6 location.
"They're both fantastic teams," Coach Kasun said, "but I don't think we'll be intimidated."
BG SERVICE POINTS: Sam Keating 11, Jamey Brumbaugh 8, Damon Rickens 8, Collin Welteroth 5, Ben Kasun 4, Brennan Hurd 3, Nick Little 1.
BG KILLS: Sam Keating 10, Rickens 8, Little 8, Kasun 6, Horell 6.
BG DIGS: Brumbaugh 14, Kasun 6, Keating 5, Horell 4.
BG ASSISTS: Kasun 32.
BG BLOCKS: Welteroth 5, Horell 4.
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (15-1); Obama Academy (17-4).