KANE, Pa. – There is going to be a party this weekend in Shinglehouse, Pa.
Rewatch the match (Note there were audio difficulties through the first set into the second set)
The Oswayo Valley volleyball team made sure of that sweeping right past top-seeded Elk County Catholic, 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-17) to claim the first-ever District 9 volleyball title in school history with the 1A crown Thursday night at Kane High School.
“It’s about time,” junior Oliva Cook, who played a key role in the victory with 17 kills, 20 digs, a block, and a set assist said. “I think (Shinglehouse) is very excited right now.”
It was a dominating performance by the unbeaten and second-seeded Green Wave who were appearing in only the second-ever title game in school history – OV lost to eventual state champion Clarion, 3-0, last year.
Oswayo Valley trailed just three times the entire night – and two of those were 3-2 (in the first and third sets).
“I actually did feel like they were going to play like this,” first-year head coach Ken Kellert said. “They practice hard and they push each other hard. The captains are really good at keeping the team up, even during the game when they get down. They keep their heads up and keep going.”
The only serious adversity the Green Wave faced came in the first set when they saw a 19-10 lead evaporate during a 12-2 ECC run that gave the previously unbeaten Lady Crusaders a 22-21 lead on an ace from Libero Gabby Weisner.
But a blocking error by ECC was followed by a kill from Cook that put Oswayo Valley back ahead 23-22,
The Lady Crusaders tied it once more on a kill by Madison Marzullo, but a dig turned into a kill from Cook to put the Green Wave on the brink, and victory in the set came on an ECC passing error.
“We came back because we were lifting each other up,” senior Avery Kellert, who added 17 kills, eight digs, two blocks, four set assists, and an ace said. “We were together as a team.”
Oswayo Valley let the same thing happen in the second set when it took a 20-13 lead only to watch ECC fight all the way back to tie the set at 23 on the third of three straight kills from Tori Newton, who had 12 kills, two blocks, and an ace.
But Cook stepped to the forefront with back-to-back kills to secure the second-set victory and put the Green Wave ahead 2-0.
“We are hard to beat (with Oliva and Avery playing well),” Ken Kellert said. “When we can pass and hit it good, it is hard. They are playing to their peak levels.”
Watch Ken Kellert’s full postgame interview
With the D9 title within its sights, Oswayo Valley used a 7-2 run that featured a pair of blocks by Kellert to take a 9-4 lead.
Then, after ECC got back within three, 13-10, a quick 3-0 spurt by the Green Wave that featured a pair of Praylan Perkins kills made it 16-10.
Another kill by Perkins followed by kills from Cook, Eva West, and Kellert pushed the lead to 20-13.
Kellert then took over recording the final four kills for Oswayo Valley, including the championship-winning kill.
“We worked so hard to this,” Avery Kellert said. “(The loss to Clarion last year) fueled us a lot. We wanted it so bad this year. When we came here to play Elk we wanted it.”
Watch the Cook/Avery Kellert postgame interview
Perkins added eight kills and 15 digs in the victory with Trinity Lundy running the offense for Oswayo Valley with 35 set assists while also recording 11 digs and an ace.
Watch Oswayo Valley get its championship trophy
Reagan Bauer chipped in nine kills for ECC with Marzullo adding six kills and a block. Kiri Emmert ran the Lady Crusaders’ offense with 31 set assists.
Both teams move into the PIAA playoffs.
As the D9 champion, Oswayo Valley earns the right to host a first-round game Tuesday against the loser of the WPIAL title game between Serra Catholic and Frazier. The WPIAL title game is Saturday.
As the D9 runner-up, ECC will take to the road and travel to the District 10 champion, either Maplewood or Cochranton. Those squads face off for the D10 title at Noon Saturday in Meadville.
Watch Oswayo Valley get its championship medals