Lady Huskies overcome nerves to advance to state semifinals

PIAA Class 2A Quarters H.S. Girls Volleyball

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Bishop Carroll overcame nerves and mental mistakes Saturday in the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals, conquering those demons to the effect of a dominant second and fourth set performances on its way to a 26-24, 25-14, 24-26, 25-16 victory over District 10 champion Cochranton at the Punxsutawney High School gymnasium.

“Very exciting win, “Bishop Carroll coach Katie Wyland said. (Cochranton is) a very good team. They had a bunch of good hitters; tall girls. And we pulled it out. I’m excited.”

Carroll will play Northern Cambria in a rematch from the District 6 championship match. Northern won in the night-cap of a four-match showcase.

Anna Haigh and Maddie Murphy registered 10 kills apiece for Carroll with Mara Yahner adding nine more.

Murphy and Yahner led the team in service points with 12 each, while Murphy also recorded five blocks.

Kate Yahner led Carroll in digs with 23, followed by Haigh and Kayla Repko who totaled 15 each.

Repko also led the team with 32 assists on the day.

Bishop Carroll came out after a tooth-and-nail first set which the Lady Huskies won, 26-24.

“No, I knew they were going to come back firing at us,” Wyland said. “I think we just made too many errors down the stretch, it kind of hurt us, and we had some errors that we don’t usually make so I don’t know if it’s just nerves, them thinking ‘Oh, we’ve got this’. But we made some uncommon errors for us which is what made that third game a little unexpected to me.”

Wyland said she knew her players were close to pulling away early in the fourth set where the two teams battled from the beginning of the fourth set, trading leads until finally an 11-point service run put Cochranton away for good.

“I think the first six points of the fourth set, really was key, and the girls kept building off that,” Wyland said. They lose it, we try to get it right back. They didn’t get many service runs that game if I remember correctly.

Wyland fought emotions and said how excited she was to get back to the state semifinals with almost the exact same group who lost in that round a year ago.

“Those seniors, they mean a lot to me,” Wyland said. “Just to see how well they are doing right now; keeping it up. They want this.

“They set a goal this year. They wanted to get back to the final four. It wasn’t even ‘win states’. It was to get back to that final four. If we got there last year we can do it again this year, and they set the bar high for themselves, and now they’re prevailing.”

Wyland and the Lady Huskies did not stay to see the conclusion of Northern Cambria’s win over Clarion Area, but she said that they’re confident whoever they would have played would have required a premium effort from her squad.

“We’ve seen them both. They’re both very good teams, we’re going to have to bring our A-game, no matter who we play, but I’m excited.”

Caroline Ratchford, who registered nine kills in the Lady Huskies victory said that her and her fellow Lady Huskies were ecstatic to be moving on to the semifinals but acknowledged there were some hiccups in Carroll’s game.

“We got excited (after the second set) but then we got a little too excited and we didn’t play our game, Ratchford said. “That’s why we lost that third set. But then the fourth set we came back better than ever.

“I know our team can play anybody and beat anybody if we play how we know how to play.”

Cochranton coach Marci Malliard did not give comment for this story.

BISHOP CARROLL SERVICE POINTS: Haigh 6, Clark 6, Yahner 7, Repko 5, Murphy 12, Yahner 12.