Bishop Canevin athletics made history in 2013
By Nathan Smith
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The 2013 calendar year was nothing short of a success for Bishop Canevin athletics.
The Crusaders captured two WPIAL titles, a state title and numerous teams qualified for the postseason. But while the year was full of joy, Bishop Canevin did say goodbye to one of the longest-tenured coaches in the WPIAL.
The following is a look at the top five stories from Bishop Canevin in 2013.
1. PIAA champs
The girls basketball team captured the school's first PIAA title since the softball team finished as the best in state in 1999.
The Crusaders downed York Catholic, 45-38, to capture the Class AA crown.
Bishop Canevin trailed the Fighting Irish, 33-28, in the third quarter before the Crusaders finished the game on a 17-5 run.
“We just realized this was our year,” senior Carly Forse said, “and realized we could actually win the state championship.”
Forse and fellow senior Celina DiPietro led the Crusaders with 18 points a piece in the win.
Bishop Canevin's trek to Hershey came in a very unlikely manor. The Crusaders defeated rival Seton-La Salle twice in the postseason, including the WPIAL finals.
The Rebels had won eight straight over their Section 4-AA foe. But Bishop Canevin found the winning formula in a 56-47 win at the Palumbo Center to capture the program's first WPIAL title.
Johnie Olkosky tied a WPIAL girls championship game record with seven 3-pointers as she finished with 26 points.
Then in the PIAA semifinals, the Crusaders eliminated Seton-La Salle with a 41-36 victory that saw Forse score 17 points while DiPietro and freshman Gina Vallecorsa added 10 each.
The senior trio of Erin Waskowiak, Forse and DePitro took their talents to the next level. DePietro and Forst became starters for Point Park while Waskowiak moved onto Duquesne.
2. A legend retires
If any name is synonymous with Bishop Canevin athletics, it is Bob Jacoby.
The longtime football coach – who also served as athletic director and softball coach for 30 years each – retired in January after 40 years of coaching the Crusaders on the gridiron.
He finished with a 238-170-7 record. He won a WPIAL championship in 1990 and was a 2-point conversion away from a state title the same year.
Jacoby's replacement was Darren Schoppe.
A 1991 graduate from Bishop Canevin, Schoppe served 13 seasons on the Crusader staff and most recently was the defensive coordinator at South Fayette.
The Crusaders went 3-7 in Schoppe's first season as coach.
3. WPIAL title
The eight seniors on the 2013 Bishop Canevin volleyball roster knew what coming up short felt like.
The Crusaders had made it to two WPIAL Class A title games during their high school careers and walked away with second place both times falling to Frazier, 3-0, in 2010 and then to Greensburg Central Catholic, 3-0, in 2012.
The Crusaders made up for it in 2013, defeating the Centurions, 3-2, to capture the WPIAL crown.
“I think experience was the difference this time,” Bishop Canevin coach Kevin Walters said. “We have eight seniors that have been here before, and they didn't want to leave with silver again.”
The Crusaders fell to Elk County Christian, 3-2, in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs.
Bishop Canevin finished the season with a 23-2 record. It won the Section 6-A title by going 14-0.
Sophomore Erin Cunningham led the team in kills with 244 – and in digs with 403 – while senior Ashley Grimm added 221.Senior Callie Jacobs led the Crusaders in blocks with 53.
The Bishop Canevin girls cross country team got a taste of Hershey for the first time in 2013.
The Crusaders finished second in the WPIAL Class A race to punch its ticket to the state championship.
Freshman Becca Volz led the team with a time of 21:14 to finish in 15th. Senior Caroline DeFrank was close behind in 16th with a time of 21:19.
Sophomore Leah Narkevic finished in 18th with a time of 21:29 while freshman Sarah Green finished in 59th (23:39) and freshman Annie Philbin finished in 67th (24:07).
Other finishers for the Crusaders included Mary Olivia Philbin in 29th with a time of 21:54 and Burgess in 44th with a time of 22:46.
The Crusaders finished 12th in the PIAA race.
5. Dominance on the field
First-year coach Jared Steigerwald set a new standard of excellence with the Bishop Canevin girls soccer team.
In his first year with the Crusaders, he led the team to a 17-3 mark and a Section 3-A championship – the program's second straight section crown. The Crusaders finished the regular season on an eight-game winning streak.
The team fell in overtime to Sewickley Academy, 1-0, in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals to see its season come to a close.
Sophomore Ellese White led the team in goals scored with 10 while fellow sophomore Sam Vanek finished with nine.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.
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