DUBOIS, Pa. – How a team handles adversity says a lot about the character of the team.
(Photo: Aryana Girvin goes up for a kill in the first set of Clarion’s 3-0 win over Bishop Carroll in the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals Saturday. Girvin was named the Hager Paving Player of the Match. Photo by Kim Constantino)
Relisten to the match:
The Clarion volleyball team is a team of high character when one sees how the Lady Cats handled missing Libero KK Girvin Saturday in a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-15) win over Bishop Carroll in the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals at DuBois Central Catholic High School.
Girvin missed the match and could miss more because of an illness, but her Clarion teammates rallied around her absence to continue its amazing streak in the 2019 postseason that has seen the Lady Cats win 15 sets while losing none and going 5-0.
“The moment we lost (KK),” Clarion head coach Shari Campbell said when asked when she knew her team was going to react in a positive way to the adversity it was facing. “They were going to do this. They have to do this for her. No, no, no, not for her but because of her. They were like ‘we’ve got this.’ There was, of course, concern for her and emotions because it was scary, but it is because of players like KK that the team doesn’t need her. She has pushed (them) for years and has been a part of a program where everybody emulates each other. They work hard in the gym, and they say they are going to be like (KK). They are going to pass like that, they are going to hustle like that. I just keep seeing that time and time again.”
It wasn’t an accident that one of the players who stepped up the most in KK Girvin’s absence was her younger sister, Aryana Girvin.
Aryana, just a freshman, had the match of her life tying for the team lead with 12 kills while hitting an incredible 73.3 percent. And adding three digs to boot.
“I knew that she wasn’t going to be able to play,” Aryana Girvin said. “We had decided that I was going to carry it for both of us, and it was really exciting to win tonight. To do it for her.”
Aryana Girvin was joined by a host of other players in lifting the Lady Cats to the PIAA semifinals for the second time in three years.
Korrin Burns also had 12 kills, while Kait Constantino and Maddie Schill contributed nine kills apiece.
Constantino also had 14 digs, second on the team only to Jordan Best, who took KK Girvin’s place at Libero and delivered an outstanding performance with 16 digs. Burns added eight digs, and Schill, who hadn’t seen a lot of time in the back row this year until Saturday added seven digs.
Meanwhile, Brenna Campbell continued her outstanding setting with 40 set assists while adding five digs, three aces and two kills.
“It is a whole team effort,” Shari Campbell said. “You can’t just talk about one kid.
“Brenna just running an offense that is super diverse. Kait and Kait and Korring hitting lights out. How about Aryana Girvan stepping up, Jordan stepping up in the Libero role.
“You can’t just talk about one of them. They have so much trust in each other. That trust allows them to play at their full potential, and you are seeing that.”
Don’t discount Shari Campbell’s role in her team’s ability to fight through adversity. Whether it is her teaching and coaching in the gym or her willingness to play anyone, anywhere, it has all helped put Clarion in this position.
“We have played 22 ranked teams in the state,” Aryana Girvin said. “Coach pushes us as hard as she can, and it helps in practice to play against each other too.”
Watch all of Aryana’s Girvin’s postgame interview.
Saturday, Clarion found itself in a nip-and-tuck first set and trailed 18-17 following a kill by Ellie Long, who had six kills in the match.
But a service error by Madita Diesler followed by a kill by Korrin Burns put Clarion up 19-18.
A pair of Clarion service errors sandwiched between another kill by Burns found the match tied at 20.
That s when Clarin took over, or should I say Schill took over.
The senior middle hitter had two kills and a block during the Lady Cats’ closing 5-0 run that put them up one set to none.
In the second set, Clarion found itself down three early, 8-5, only to go on a 9-2 run that including three kills from Burns before an ace by Campbell put them ahead 14-10.
The Lady Huskies got back within two a couple of times, including at 15-13, but kills by Constantino and Girvin and an ace by Schill helped push the score to 19-13, and then Clarion scored six of the final nine points of the set to take a commanding 2-0 lead.
There was no doubt in the third set, as Clarion raced to a 7-1 lead on the back of two kills and a block by Schill before a pair of kills by Girvin made it 10-3.
Bishop Carroll was never able to get closer than five the rest of the set.
“It means so much,” Aryana Girvin said. “We have been working our butts off in practice for this.”
Things get tougher – as they should – in the PIAA semifinals Tuesday when Clarion takes on defending champion Northern Cambria at a site and time to be announced. Northern Cambria, who ended Clarion’s season a year ago in the quarterfinals, beat Cochranton, 3-1, in the first match at DCC.
“We just have to worry about ourselves,” Shari Campbell said. “We need to take care of what we have been doing all year. We need to pass well. We need to take this like every other game we have gone into and just pass, play defense, bring our blocking game and then run tempo.”
The semifinal match will be broadcast live on D9Sports.com and exploreClarion.com.