SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Coach Shelia Bancroft said this wasn’t the best her team could play, but Maplewood certainly made the key plays when it needed to in a 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 26-24) win over Bishop Canevin that has them back in the PIAA semifinals.
Rewatch the match:
The defending state champions have now won six straight PIAA matches.
“This wasn’t our best performance, but it was good enough to win,” Bancroft said. “I really wouldn’t have expected to be here, but they believed. One of their goals was to get by the quarterfinals of every tournament. I reminded them that this was another tournament, and your goal was to get by the quarterfinals. They keep setting goals and reaching them, and they’re not done yet.”
The sweep included a rally that saw the Tigers come back from a 12-4 deficit in the third set.
“We all came here ready to play and we all wanted to win,” said Allegheny Grille of Foxburg Player of the Game Maggie Means during the Cole Orthodontic Associates postgame interview. “The timeout really got us going (in the third set). After that, reality sunk in and we really just all wanted to win.”
See Means’ full interview:
Means had 40 set assists in the win, setting the table for Elizabeth Hunter (21 kills), Savannah O’Hara (12 kills) and others.
Maplewood rallied to tie it up at 19-all in the third, but Canevin answered back to take a 24-23 lead. No matter, as the Lady Tigers answered with the next three points, including a kill from Hunter to end it.
“We just had to look at the small picture and take it one point at a time,” Bancroft said about the comeback in the third. “We just have to get two, three in a row and creep back slowly. We’re not going to get it back all at one time, so we just had to look at what was right in front of us.”
The first set was a true back-and-forth affair, with neither team leading by more than four points. Maplewood led 24-22, but Canevin got two points to tie it. From there, the two teams alternated points until Bishop Canevin hit a ball into the net with Maplewood up 27-26 to end it.
Maplewood was able to take control in the middle stages of the second set. The Tigers took a 17-13 lead and cruised from there, with O’Hara coming up with a couple of kills to help close it out.
“We picked up our passing game and played some good defense,” Bancroft said. “Elizabeth came up with some big blocks at the end and offensively, Savannah O’Hara had a hot hand today. I told Maggie, see who’s got the hot hand and feed her.”
Ella Whalen led Canevin with 12 kills.
It will be a District 9 vs. District 10 semifinal matchup, as Maplewood will face Elk County Catholic, a 3-0 (25-23, 29-27, 25-16) winner over Serra Catholic.
“We’ll worry about that tonight and tomorrow,” Bancroft said. “We’ll get the scouting report and go from there.”