Bishop Canevin finishes Section 6-A schedule with 14-0 record
WPIAL volleyball's regular season ended last week, and that can mean only one thing — another section title for Bishop Canevin.
The Lady Crusaders claimed their fifth straight section crown and first outright title since 2010 as they defeated Avella and Carlynton, 3-0. The wins moved Bishop Canevin's Section 6-A mark to 14-0.
Chartiers-Houston (12-2) and Bentworth (10-4) will join the Lady Crusaders in the Class A playoffs.
What made this season even more impressive is that the team gave up only two sets to section opponents.
“This is exactly where I want the program to be,” Bishop Canevin coach Kevin Walters said. “It is what we have worked on since I came here six years ago.
“We have this team coming into every match and taking it serious. We don't give up big leads. We don't go into four or five sets.”
The Lady Crusaders also had a tough nonsection showdown last week against South Fayette, the Section 6-AA champion. They had to rally several times to win in three sets, 25-21, 26-24 and 25-21.
The Lady Lions were just one of several tough nonsection opponents Bishop Canevin faced this season. The Lady Crusaders also have battled Class AAA's Fox Chapel, Gateway and Montour; Class AA's Knoch; and Class A's Avonworth.
“It was a good match for us,” Walters said. “(South Fayette) coach Scott Sundgren even came up afterwards and said it was a good game for them. It is a good way for us to tune up heading into the playoffs.”
Walters credited his offense for the team's success.
The team runs a 6-2 formation that puts the three front-row players in attack positions and requires two players to play as setters. Senior Jody Mackin and Callie Jacobs each finished with 119 kills, while junior Ashley Grimm added 118.
“No one can focus in on one hitter,” Walters said. “All three players in the front are doing well. Everyone has progressed along to the point where we can go to all three players in the front.”
Walters said his squad has improved its defense greatly from the beginning of the season. He said the squad has worked on not letting the ball drop as well as the serve-receive every day, and it's starting to pay off late in the season.
“I tell them that defense wins championships,” Walters said. “Hitting just makes us look pretty. We are at a point now that everyone knows what is going on and does their job.
“Do we make mistakes? Yes. But we have worked hard to eliminate the errors.”
To help get ready for the playoffs, the Lady Crusaders held a scrimmage at Shaler to test their skills against the Lady Titans as well as West Mifflin and Mars.
“Some of the opponents we are going to face in the Class A playoffs are big, strong kids, so we need to work against some big strong kids,” Walters said. “We will be working on our defense, our offense and our serve-receive. We will be working on all the main parts of the game, so we can prepare for the tournament.”
The playoff bracket was announced earlier this week but was unavailable at press time.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.