Williamson downs Bishop Carroll, reaches final four
STATE COLLEGE - Final four, here they come.
Williamson's season continues as they defeated District VI runner-up Bishop Carroll 3-1 in PIAA Class A volleyball action Saturday.
"It feels amazing," Warrior Lori Horton exclaimed. "We've worked so hard this season and its started to kind of payoff right now."
"This is the most amazing feeling that I've ever felt," teammate Kim Daugherty stated.
The Warriors' match was eerily similar to their first round win over Halifax as they lost the first game but then took the next three.
Once again it was Kim Daugherty's strong play at the net that set the tone for Williamson. The senior middle hitter had 27 kills in the match and was a force defensively with numerous blocked shots and shot alterations.
Fellow front line terror Horton had 11 kills and several blocks while outside hitter Whitney Hurlburt added 10 kills. The trio, along with contributions from Amber Fitzmartin (six kills) and Sierra Magnotta (six kills), over whelmed the smaller Huskies.
Dealing out all these hits was Lindsea Jones, who finished with 52 assists in the match.
McKenna Greenwalt had 11 points for Williamson while Jenna Hugic and Magnotta had 10 points each. Katie Haslund added eight while Hurlburt and Jones had five points apiece.
Defensively Magnotta had 24 digs while Hurlburt added 21.
The first game started out back and forth with Bishop Carroll taking an early 5-3 lead after scoring three straight points. Williamson would add three straight points of their own to take a 6-5 lead and from there neither team could separate from the other.
With the match tied at 11 the Huskies rattled off four straight points, the final score off a kill from Janelle Gueguen to take a 15-11 lead.
Williamson called timeout to regroup and managed to fight back. The Warriors scored six of the next eight points to knot things up at 17-all.
After trading points the Huskies had back to back scores to go up 20-18.
A Fitzmartin kill cut it to 20-19 but Carroll came back and scored again. Daugherty had a kill to cut it to 21-20 but Carroll scored again to stay two points up.
After trading off points again, the Huskies led 23-21. A Daugherty kill cut it to 23-22 but back to back points by the Huskies gave them a 25-22 win and the first game in the best of five match.
Instead of getting down after losing the first game the Warriors focused even more.
"I think it really motivates us," Hurlburt explained about losing the first game. "With our regular season we didn't ever lose a first game. Losing the first game was like 'wow, we've got to do this.'"
They felt like it was do or die in the second game.
"We still had momentum," remarked Horton. "We knew we had to come back and just play hard because if we lost another we would have no momentum left."
It was a whole different story in the second game.
Williamson jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind Daugherty's dominant play at the net (two kills and a block). After the Huskies finally got on the scoreboard Daugherty pushed the Warrior's lead up to 7-1 with back to back hits.
It would get as bad as 15-4 before the Huskies scored back to back points. Cutting the deficit to 15-6 didn't faze the Warriors as they added three straight points to increase the lead to 18-6.
The Huskies tried to get back into the game, scoring three straight points of their own to cut the lead to 18-9 but a Horton kill stopped the run.
After taking a 21-10 lead Carroll would rattle off another trio of points to cut it to 21-13 but that's as close as they got. The Warriors got a side out and Hurlburt had three kills to end the game 25-15 and knot the match at 1-1.
"I knew we could," Daugherty said about her team's big win in game two. "We've had some pretty slow starting games lately but once we kick it in we've got them all."
It was Daugherty who keyed that big second game victory.
"We all know she can play like that," Hurlburt said about Daugherty's play. "We kind of expect that from her."
Getting a win under their belts was also important from a confidence stand point.
"It gave us the confidence to know that we could beat them," Horton explained. "If we could take them that quickly and start off with a six point lead we knew that we could play with them."
If the second game was a blowout the third was a nail biter.
Williamson jumped out to a 5-2 lead but the Huskies fought back to 5-5.
The two sides traded points until a Daugherty kill led to another three point run for the Warriors as they took a 12-9 lead. The Huskies hung around, keeping the deficit in reach until another three straight points by the Warriors gave them a 17-12 advantage and forced Carroll to call a timeout.
The Huskies regrouped, scoring three straight points of their own to cut the deficit to 17-15. Back to back points off a Horton kill and block pushed the Warriors lead back to 19-15 where the two sides traded points once again.
With Williamson just four points away from taking another game Carroll rattled off three straight points to cut the Warrior lead to 21-20.
A Daugherty kill stemmed the rally but the Huskies came back with a point of their own to keep pace. After Williamson went up 23-21 the Huskies scored back to back points, the second off a Sarah Gomish kill to knot the game at 23 all.
Williamson called a timeout but it was the Huskies who took a 24-23 lead.
Horton kept the Warriors in the game with a kill, followed by a Brittany Haight ace to put Williamson up 25-24.
A Gomish kill followed by an Ellie Yahner block put Carroll back up 26-25.
Horton would put Williamson back on top with back to back scores followed by a Yahner kill to knot the game at 27 all. After trading points to make it 28-28 it was Magnotta who stepped up, scoring back to back kills for her team to give the game to Williamson 30-28.
Nerve wracking was how both Hurlburt and Horton described the third game.
"You know that when its back and forth one little mistake can really make a difference," Hurlburt remarked.
"We knew we had to keep it within one or two points," added Horton. "We were starting to get tired and we had to keep it close or else we wouldn't have came back."
And throughout the final third of that game Daugherty was on the bench.
"It was very hard," she said about watching. "I really wanted to play but I knew the people out there could do it. I have so much confidence in everyone, I believe in my team."
Getting that game was important, too.
"It's always an advantage to be 2-1 on a team," Hurlburt said. "Usually the person who gets the second game wins it because the fifth game its a short game and everybody's tired."
There was also another reason why they didn't want it to go five games.
"In our season we haven't gone any matches into five games," explained Horton. "We don't know what that's like, we knew we had to take it in the fourth to get that win."
Going into the final game the Warriors felt like they had it in hand.
"The whole time I had a feeling that we were going to win," Daugherty explained. "I'm not being cocky at all but I'm so confident that we can go all the way."
Facing elimination it was Carroll that came out strong in the fourth game.
They took a 6-3 lead with Williamson fighting back to go up 7-6. The Huskies scored five of the next six points to take an 11-8 lead when the Warriors responded again. A bad Carroll serve followed by a Hurlburt kill and Horton block tied things up at 11 all.
The Huskies went on another run, scoring 10 of the next 15 points to take a 21-16 lead.
"We could definitely tell that they wanted it," Horton said about the Huskie's play. "We just had to work that much harder to push through point by point."
With it looking like a fifth game was imminent Williamson rattled off five straight points to knot things up at 21-all.
"It was motivation," Hurlburt remarked about that run. "We have to do this now."
The Huskies would score one more time to take a 22-21 lead but that was the last time.
Williamson tied it up off a Carroll miscue then rattled off three more points to win 25-22 and earn a spot in the state final four.
The Warriors will now take on District 11 champion Marion Catholic, who defeated Country Day Sacred Heart, the District 1 champion, 25-17, 25-14, 25-19.
That match will be played on Tuesday at a place to be determined.
While Williamson isn't shy about state play, this is their third straight time in the PIAA tournament, they've never gotten this far.
"We've been to states the past three years and kind of dwindled out," Hurlburt said. "All of our seniors make up our team and we really want this."
The Warriors are also happy to receive support not only from their school and community, which had a strong showing down at State College, but also from the other NTL teams.
"We would like to thank the other NTL teams for supporting us," Jones remarked.
Having that support just makes this special season for them that much better.
"It means so much more this year not only because I'm a senior," explained Daugherty. "But because we've been here before and not come all the way through. Now were ready, were ready this time."