New Castle News
The Neshannock High girls volleyball team opened some eyes last night.
The Lady Lancers fell to Bishop Canevin 25-21, 25-11, 25-13 in a WPIAL Class A girls volleyball semifinal at North Allegheny.
That did not surprise people as the Lady Crusaders (19-0) are the top seed and the Lady Lancers (14-4) are the 12th seed. However, it was Neshannock’s play that gained the attention of many onlookers — especially in the first game.
“I think, as a No. 12 seed playing a No. 1 seed, we earned a little respect there. We showed we could be competitive and I think that was the best thing that came out of that first game,” Neshannock coach Andrew Frank said. “Bishop Canevin played near-flawless volleyball. They probably had five mistakes total, 10 tops.”
Bishop Canevin moves on to face Greensburg Central Catholic, a 3-0 winner over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, in tomorrow’s WPIAL championship match at Chartiers Valley. The Lady Centurions beat the Lady Crusaders, 3-0, in last year’s tilt.
“It is nice to get back there,” Bishop Canevin coach Kevin Walters said. “We’re playing the same team we played last year. Hopefully, it’ll be a different outcome.”
Meanwhile, Neshannock advances to the PIAA tournament, which begins Tuesday. The Lady Lancers will be either the third or fourth seed depending on tomorrow’s outcome. A Bishop Canevin win gives Neshannock the No. 3 seed and a match against the District 10 champ at a time and site to be determined, while a Lady Crusaders loss gives the Lady Lancers the No. 4 seed and a visit to Central Cambria for a 6 p.m. battle against the D-6 champ.
“There’s nothing to hang our heads about. To be in the top four of 42 or 43 teams in the WPIAL, is a very huge achievement. To make the state tournament for the first time in school history is a huge achievement,” Frank said. “There have been a lot of firsts for this team; they’ve made some history for this program and I am very proud of the way they’ve held themselves. They’ve played respectable and they are very humble.”
Bishop Canevin has not lost a game in the WPIAL tournament. The Lady Lancers almost became the first team to prevail. They rallied from a 22-15 deficit to come within 22-21, but the Lady Crusaders scored the last three points to take the win in the opening game.
“Fortunately, we’ve been playing some good volleyball and we’ve been trying to do that all season long. We tried to peak at the right time,” Walters said. “Neshannock is a good team. We kind of knew what they were going to do; we knew they didn’t have a whole lot of height, but we told our girls that, if they swing at a ball, don’t think it’s going down because those girls are going to bring a lot of balls back up. They did exactly that. They played great defense. Their hitters did what we thought they’d do. We told the girls that if you get up on them, don’t think they won’t come back on you, because they’ve done that to some teams as well.”
Bishop Canevin used a 6-1 run to take charge in the second game and a 7-2 spree to gain separation in the second game.
“It’s very difficult, when you get to that point, to come back from a deficit against a team that is going to attack you as they did,” Frank said. “Mistakes killed us. We were attacking the ball in the first game. The second and third games were a struggle to keep errors down.”
Madison Altmyer led Neshannock with six points and three kills. Tayler Grybowski had four points, three blocks and three kills. Jordan Wethli had five kills and six points. Taylor Frank, the coach’s daughter, added 14 assists.