Carmichaels sweeps Greensburg Central Catholic in WPIAL Class A girls volleyball semis
If the Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball team planned to make it back to the WPIAL Class A championship, the Centurions needed to do it without senior middle hitter Sarah Petnuch, who battled through injuries all season, during a semifinal matchup against Carmichaels.
The No. 3 Centurions (16-1) mission for a WPIAL championship came to a halt Wednesday when they lost, 3-0, to No. 2 Carmichaels (17-0) at Peters Township.
Last season, the Centurions season came to a sudden end when they lost to Fort Cherry in the first round. The early exit came off the heels of WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2016.
“We’re proud of ourselves to make it past the first round. We’re disappointed that we didn’t get the outcome we were hoping for,” GCC coach Courtney Stynchula said.
The Mikes advanced to their first WPIAL final by scores of 25-19, 25-18 and 25-19.
“It’s just a humbling experience. The girls worked really well together and they worked hard all year round,” Carmichaels coach Ashley Shoemaker said. “To see that pay off for them shows that it’s going to pay off in the end.”
Junior outside hitter Liz Colecchia and senior outside hitter Abbey Kilkear led the Centurions with three kills each. Freshman middle hitter Rebecca Hess had three kills and an ace.
The Centurions finished with four aces.
Senior setter Grace Kerr led Carmichaels with 16 assists and 15 digs. Junior defensive specialist Abigail Fordyce finished with 14 digs, and junior middle blocker Taylor Christopher had 11 kills and two blocks.
Senior outside hitter Meighan Spishock had 11 digs, and sophomore setter Alexandra McGree had 11 assists for Carmichaels.
The Mikes jumped out to early leads in each of the games.
In the second game, Carmichaels raced to a 12-4 advantage and expanded their lead to 18-7. The Centurions closed within 23-17 but ran out of runway.
In the final game, Carmichaels got an early 14-6 lead before the Centurions made it 15-11. Carmichaels quickly created more cushion by winning the next five of the six points.
“I always tell the girls it’s one point a time,” Shoemaker said. “We’re not focusing on the past point. We’re not focusing on five points from now. We need to focus right now, right here. Just stopping those runs were big for us.”
Even with the loss, the Centurions will fifth-seeded Fort Cherry at 10 a.m. Saturday in the WPIAL Class A consolation match with a spot for the state tournament for the winner.
“Our quote before every match is how would you play if you couldn’t play tomorrow. We just look forward to being around each other for the next couple of days and, hopefully, next couple of weeks if we can make it to states,” Stynchula said.
Carmichaels faces No. 1 Bishop Canevin in the championship match at noon Saturday at Fox Chapel.
“We’ve been talking about re-writing history all year,” Shoemaker said. “This season we’ve done a lot of good things from the time they were young to now. We’re just enjoying the moment and we’re going out and playing our hardest.”