If you are a fan of District 10 girls volleyball, Punxsutawney High School is the place to be today.
All three D-10 teams still alive in their quest for a state championship play their quarterfinal matches in the hometown of the famous Punxsutawney Phil.
The first match is at noon between District 10 Class 2A champion Corry and District 6 champion Bald Eagle Area. District 10 Class 3A champion Warren follows with its quarterfinal match against WPIAL runner-up Thomas Jefferson at 1:30 p.m. Finishing things off for District 10 is Class 1A champion Cochranton. The Lady Cardinals face District 6 champion Bishop Carroll at 3:30 p.m.
Cochranton knew very little about its first round opponent Ridgway going into Tuesday’s night match. The result was an easy 25-12, 25-14, 25-18 win. What do the Lady Cardinals know about Bishop Carroll? Just about the same.
“I don’t know a whole lot,” Cochranton coach Marci Malliard said. “I got a few things on them, but no video or anything like that. But, again, just like the last time (against Ridgway), the focus is taking care of business our our own side of the net and not overthinking what’s going on on the other side of the net.”
A glance at the Huskies on Maxpreps, however, should tell the Lady Cardinals plenty. They are in for a match and will need to bring their ‘A’ game to Punxsutawney today.
Bishop Carroll earned its spot in the quarterfinals with a 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 win over WPIAL runner-up Carmichaels. The Huskies are ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 1A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association. They enter today’s match at 22-2 with their lone losses coming against Class 2A Central Cambria on Oct. 23 and then again on Oct. 25 in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference title match.
Like Cochranton, the Huskies thrive on keeping the opponent from successfully running their offense due to a stellar game at the service line. Bishop Carroll has 138 service aces as a team. They have six players with at least 15 led by Kate and Mara Yahner’s 29 each. On attack, Maddie Murphy, a senior outside/middle hitter, paces Bishop Carroll with 194 kills. Senior outside hitter Kate Yahner has 160 kills and junior opposite hitter Mara Yahner has 148. Defensively, Kate Yahner has a team-best 402 digs. Murphy leads the Huskies with 112 blocks.
Cochranton actually did see Bishop Carroll at the Clarion Tournament. But that was back in September. The Cardinals have faced several teams since then and any real memory of the Huskies is a bit hazy. Malliard did remember that Cochranton split with them at the tournament. However, neither Cochranton nor Bishop Carroll are the same teams they were then.
The Cardinals prepared for today’s match with a tri-scrimmage with Corry and Warren on Thursday night. Malliard said she walked out of the gym at the end of the night feeling pretty good about the way the Cardinals played against the District 10 Class 2A and 3A champions. Now they need to put it together on the court against Bishop Carroll.
“It all comes down to serving and passing,” Malliard said. “We have to do those things well. One at a time. Everything after districts is icing on the cake.”