Carroll can’t overcome huge hurdle in Mooney

NEWVILLE — In the simplest terms, there was just too much Jasmine Mooney for Bishop Carroll Catholic to deal with.

An all-state selection last year, the 6-foot-1 Mooney proved to be a powerful force at the net (35 kills) and used a tough serve (nine aces) to carry the Marian Catholic Fillies to a 3-1 victory over the Lady Huskies in a PIAA Class 1A semifinal match in girls volleyball Tuesday night at Big Spring High School.

Bishop Carroll finished the season with a 23-5 record, while Marian (23-0) advanced to Saturday’s PIAA championship match against Maplewood (22-4), a 3-0 winner over Clarion Area. The final is set for 11 a.m. at Richland High School in Johnstown.

“It’s hard to mimic someone like that in practice,” Lady Huskies coach Katie Wyland said of Mooney’s skills. “She’s a big hitter and a strong server, and maybe we needed to be more aggressive.”

In the first game, when Mooney was the server for the first time, she had three aces and a kill in a 6-0 run for the Fillies. Then, after Bishop Carroll rallied to take a 23-20 lead, Marian ran off five straight points to win 25-23, with Mooney getting a kill to tie it 23-23 and the game-winner.

Kate Yahner, who led the Lady Huskies with five of her 15 kills in the first game, said, “We knew that (Mooney) was going to be a great player, and she really stood out. She put a really tough spin on her serves that was hard to deal with, although we did adjust to it eventually.”

Bishop Carroll played its best in the second game, and captured a 25-20 win to tie it up 1-1. Trailing 10-4, Wyland called a timeout, and her team responded with six consecutive points. Another 6-0 run, including a pair of kills by Yahner, made it 18-12, and Marian never got closer than four points again.

“I thought we did quite well blocking (Mooney) in the second set,” Wyland said. “We were aggressive and that’s when we play our best.”

Tied 13-13 in the third game, the Fillies scored four straight, including two kills and a block from Mooney, and never trailed again. The Lady Huskies got it to 24-23 after a serving error, but Mooney closed it out with a tip for a kill.

Bishop Carroll fell behind early in Game 4 thanks to four more Mooney kills, but was never out of touch. Marian led 14-8, but four straight points, including a pair of kills by Caroline Ratchford (8 for the match), got the Lady Huskies back in it. Mara Yahner’s two straight kills made it 18-16, and two hitting errors pulled Carroll to within 19-18.

But a kill by Carly Kosciolek, another by Macie Mazalusky and one more from Mooney, plus three hitting errors by the Lady Huskies, closed it out, 25-19.

“There was a lot of back-and-forth, but in the last game we were behind most of the time,” Kate Yahner said.

“I’ve been calling them the Comeback Kids and they’ve played well all season. We were the underdogs tonight and did play well, but they were more consistent and more aggressive throughout the match,” Wyland said.

All is not lost for Bishop Carroll, however. There is only one senior on the team, Caroline Semelsberger, and plenty of experience was gained by the playoff run.

One person who noticed was Marian Catholic coach John Fallabel, who is taking his fourth Fillies team to the PIAA championship match in the last six years.

“They are a fantastic team,” he said of Carroll. “They were so scrappy. And the fact that they are almost all juniors scares the crap out of me for next year.”

Service points

Bishop Carroll: Haigh 11, Clark 10, Keim 7, K. Yahner 6, M. Yahner 3, Murphy 3.