Clarion sweeps past a pesky Saegertown team in the PIAA opener

KNOX

It's probably fair to say the Clarion Area volleyball team was hardly challenged in their run to the District 9 Class A title since the Bobcats went 9-0 in district play with their closest win being by five points but when it came to PIAA play, things got a bit tougher for Clarion.

The Bobcats still recorded a sweep over District 10 foe Saegertown but the Panthers didn't go quietly as Clarion won by scores of 25-18, 25-19 and 25-23 at Keystone High School Tuesday night (Nov. 5).

Bobcats' head coach Shari Campbell new Saegertown would be a challenging foe to open inter-district play.

"I knew (Saegertown) would be tough," Campbell said. "It's a team we haven't seen all season anywhere. It was really important for us to come out and take it in three."

Korrin Burns was a force at the net for the Bobcats piling up 20 kills.

Burns also had nine points from the service line for the Bobcats.

"I'm really proud of the way she played tonight," Campbell said referring to Burns.

With the win, Clarion moves on to face District 6 runner-up Bishop Carroll Saturday (Nov. 9) at a site and time to be determined.

This will be the third year in a row the Bobcats have advanced to the PIAA quarterfinal round.

Campbell is happy her team will get a couple of days off before moving on to the next round.

"It's a quick turnaround to play on Saturday then play on Tuesday," Campbell said. "It will be nice to be able to settle in and get some work done and prepare for the next opponent."

The Bobcats ripped out to a 7-2 lead in Game One with Burns recording a pair of kills in the span.

The Panthers responded with three-straight points to trim the Clarion lead to 7-5. But three points was as close as Saegertown would get the remainder of the game. Burns posted five more kills in the game while Maddie Schill posted three kills.

Grace Ochs also served for an ace in the span for the Bobcats.

Clarion bounded out to a 3-0 lead in Game Two with Burns and Aryana Girvan each recording a kill.

Aryana Girvan had five kills and a block in the match with three of her kills coming in the second game.

Saegertown responded with three-straight points to tie the game at 3-3. Averie Braymer recorded a pair of kills to spark the Panthers' rally.

The Bobcats answered with three-consecutive points with Aryana Girvan recording a kill while Burns served for an ace.

The Panthers kept the pressure on grinding out three-straight points to tie the game at 7-7.

But Saegertown could never pull into the lead and Clarion took control later in the match putting together an 11-3 run as the Bobcats held on for the 25-19 win.

Burns had five kills and a block in the span for the Bobcats which included the kill to clinch the set for Clarion.

The Bobcats and Panthers battled back and forth to open Game Three with unforced errors by both sides getting the score to 12-12. Burns sparked a Clarion run with an ace as Clarion went on a 5-2 run to take a 17-14 lead. Schill also had a kill in the span. Later, Clarion went on a 4-0 lead behind a pair of Kaitlyn Constantino kills to take a 21-17 lead.

Constantino had six kills for the Bobcats. She also made 10 digs on defense.

It looked like the Bobcats would be able to ride the four points lead to the end of the match but after a Saegertown time out the Panthers went on a 6-0 run with Kaylee Mulligan recording a pair of kills and serving for an ace.

Campbell called a timeout with the score 23-21in favor of Saegertown. The timeout seemed to settle the Bobcats as Schill made a kill to get the Bobcats back to within one. The Bobcats Brenna Campbell followed with an ace to knot the score at 23-23 forcing a Saegertown timeout.

"I think you saw us get down to business and get it done," Campbell said of her team's closing rally. "We need to find a way to make energy when the gym doesn't have energy."

After the stoppage in play, Campbell served for another ace to give Clarion a 24-23 lead. Burns sealed the game with a kill for match point giving Clarion the 25-23 win.

Campbell served for six points including two aces while also making 23 assists and 14 digs.

Sophomore Payton Simko chipped in with three blocks for the Bobcats.

"Payton had the most blocks on our team tonight," Campbell said. "Payton really stepped up for us tonight.

"I like when (our underclassmen) can step up like that because it takes every piece of the puzzle to keep driving forward."