Impressive volleyball season ends for GCC
Greensburg Central Catholic lost eight seniors from last season's team. That didn't prevent the Lady Centurions from finishing in a tie for first place in Section 1-A with West Shamokin and Elderton.
Winning a playoff match was even more impressive.
The season didn't end until Tuesday night in the WPIAL quarterfinals in a 3-0 loss to Beaver County Christian at Plum High School.
"When we came back after losing eight seniors, I don't think people thought we would go this far," Greensburg Central Catholic coach Heather Meyer said. "Again (for next year), it's just trying to get the girls to understand what communication means in the sport of volleyball, and we need some vocal leaders, which is one thing that we're going to be working on more than anything else."
Greensburg Central Catholic (12-3) actually led late in the first game, 18-17, when Beaver County Christian went on an 8-0 run to close out the set, 25-18. That type of desperation from the Lady Eagles marked their play throughout the match. In its first year in the WPIAL, Beaver County Christian is one victory from clinching a berth in the PIAA playoffs.
Beaver County Christian (16-0) can reach the state tournament either by winning its semifinal match against Elderton on Thursday or winning a consolation match Saturday at Chartiers Valley.
"My heavy hitters are seniors, and it's a matter of do-or-die in our first year in the WPIAL because our senior leadership will determine how far we go. So it's this year or no year," Beaver County Christian coach Christen Adels said. "It's not that we have a chip on our shoulder, it's a matter of, we know it's a do-or-die year to get it done."
Hitters Kimberly McCracken, Kristland McCracken and Sarah Phillips effectively clogged the middle against any offense Greensburg Central Catholic could manage and had more than its share of kills against a Lady Centurions defense that was without starting libero Genna Fanelli.
"Our libero was out ill, and it made a big change for us defensively," Meyer said. "I think the girls were struggling to make up for that defense."
That was never more apparent than early in the second game. Beaver County Christian came out of the game and opened up a 15-4 lead, thanks in large part to BCC's service game. The Lady Eagles dropped five aces in their first 12 points won and finished with seven in a that they won easily, 25-13.
They finished off the match with a 25-15 third game, but it was the opening segment of the second game that really turned the tide against Greensburg Central Catholic.
"If we had a weakness this year it was definitely communication," Meyer said. "That can either make or break a team and, we've discussed that and we didn't have it."