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Lady Colts move into title match

D6-1A H.S. Volleyball: Northern Cambria 3, Bishop Guilfoyle 1

NORTHERN CAMBRIA — The mutual admiration between outgoing Bishop Guilfoyle girls’ volleyball coach Bob Kasun and Northern Cambria’s Mike Hogan has likely existed for many years. It manifested itself after the Lady Colts’ 3-1 victory against Bishop Guilfoyle at Ted Keener Gymnasium on Tuesday.

Kasun finished his celebrated career as the Lady Marauders fell to reigning PIAA Class 1A state champion Northern Cambria, 25-13, 25-10, 25-27, 25-12.

Lady Colts coach Mike Hogan, for his part, made a point to salute his rival, colleague and friend.

“He’s an icon. He’s an unbelievable guy, unbelievable coach, a great leader in the Altoona area,” he said. “He’s had an awesome career. He’s done wonderful things for Bishop Guilfoyle volleyball; boys, girls, club … the whole thing.

“That’s the only thing that makes me sad about tonight’s victory; that it’s his last game because we’re going to miss having him as a coach in our area.”

Modesty prevented Kasun from discussing his achievements. He preferred, instead, to praise Hogan, who has developed a praiseworthy career in his own right.

“Credit Northern Cambria. They are the defending state champion; they’re probably the favorite to win the state championship. And there’s a reason for that. They’re a great team,” Kasun said. “Mike Hogan is a Hall of Fame coach, and he deserves every great accolade he receives, and it’s a special team.”

Northern Cambria effectively defended the Lady Marauders’ attack and used the dominant net play and service of Maggie Hogan to build a 2-0 edge. The Lady Colts never trailed after 5-4 in the first game, and used an 11-0 run to capture the opener.

“I thought we serve-received pretty well,” Northern Cambria senior outside hitter Brooke Lieb said. “I thought we serve very, very well, which took them out of their game, and made our game better.”

“I thought we served the ball really, really well tonight. I thought we had some people who put service pressure on them, and made it tough for them to start their offense,” coach Hogan said.

“They have a nice outside hitter in Lyzee Wilson. She brings a nice attack, and gave us some trouble. They were mixing it up a little bit. But I thought our kids handled that. We had a lot of nice digs, got moving and had some great transition runs.”

The Lady Marauder wiped out an 18-13 deficit in the third game to eke out an extra-points victory.

“We did kind of find some cracks in their defense (in the third game),” Kasun said. “But I think it was the fight that we had. We kept battling and battling, and then some of the ball that weren’t going down in set 1 and set 2 were going down in set 3.”

“We work on defense quite a bit at practice,” Lieb said. “It’s been a very big spot in our game that we’ve been trying to improve. We’re a small team; so we’re not going to block every ball.”

“I think that we matched their energy. I think that was the most important thing,” Hogan said. “They played an outstanding game 3. We had to match that, outlast them and take care of business in (final) game. So I was proud of our team for not panicking, showing some resolve — a been here before-type thing — and got through it in game 4.”

Northern Cambria will play Juniata Valley in the district semifinals on Thursday at NC’s Ted Keener Gymnasium.

MATCH STATS

Bishop Guilfoyle–Kills, Wilson 18, Haigh 6; Assists, Kasun 34; Service points, A.Yahner 8, Haigh 3, Wilson 3, Kasun 2, Kilmartin 2; Digs–Criscitello 16.

Team records: Bishop Guilfoyle (13-9), Northern Cambria (18-1).

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