GCC volleyball sweeps West Shamokin in semis
Because of its two regular-season run-ins with Section 1-A rival Greensburg Central Catholic, West Shamokin understood the challenge that waited in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.
Still, the Lady Wolves found no way to stop the No. 1 seed Lady Centurions Thursday night at North Hills High School.
Greensburg Central Catholic (16-1) continued its march toward a WPIAL title with a 3-0 win over No. 4 seed West Shamokin (11-4), which also was swept in the regular season.
The Lady Centurions, who won by scores of 25-17, 25-18 and 25-16, will meet No. 3 Bishop Canevin in the finals Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School.
West Shamokin, though eliminated from the WPIAL tournament, advances to the PIAA level.
“This was more of a battle this time,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Heather Meyer said. “They've really improved, and we needed to play our best game, and we played one of our best games.
“I think (the Lady Centurions) just came together tonight. They each played in their positions. They communicated. They were enthusiastic. And it was all of them. It wasn't just one of them.”
West Shamokin remained close early in each game. The Lady Wolves' three-point run tied the score, 13-13, in Game 1. They won back-to-back points four times to cut their deficit to 17-16 in Game 2. And they closed a five-point gap to 6-4 in Game 3.
But each time the Lady Wolves caught up, the Lady Centurions showed why they're ranked No. 2 statewide in Class A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.
“I've been telling the team as we've finished the season that it's the team that gets to point 16, 17, that finishes strongest — that's going to be the team that's victorious in the games,” West Shamokin coach Justin Nolder said.
“We just did not find a way to close out any of the games tonight, and they certainly did.”
Senior Shannon Hurley led the Lady Centurions with 14 kills, and sophomore Leah Bisignani added 10. Senior Alexa Kacin solidified the back row of the defense, earning 18 digs, and senior Ashley Scalise starred at the net with three blocks for points.
Senior Jill Glover had a team-high 12 kills for West Shamokin, and junior Alecia Calhoun added five.
A two-time WPIAL finalist, Greensburg Central Catholic has yet to win the title. But this group of Lady Centurions appears eager to break through.
“We've worked so hard all season,” Bisignani said. “We've had a lot of pressure on us.”
Said Meyer: “It just all boils down to they've got to want it. And the way they played tonight, I'd say they want it. Now if they can just keep it for Saturday.”
West Shamokin will meet either the District 6 or District 10 champion in the first round of the state tournament.
“The caliber of the teams we're going to see at this point is going to be similar to what we just saw right there,” Nolder said. “So we must find a way to compete with teams that have that level of skill, because that's all that's left at this point.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.