Clarion Area puts end to Bishop Canevin’s volleyball playoff run

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | 7:54 PM


Bishop Canevin senior outside hitter Gillian Golupski didn’t love how the season ended.

The Lady Crusaders fell to District 9 champion Clarion Area, 25-14, 25-15, 25-14, Tuesday night in the PIAA Class A semifinals at home.

But Golupski, who finished with a team-high nine kills, was happy Bishop Canevin had a lengthy playoff run that allowed them to honor the memory of coach Kevin Walters.

Walters died the night before the Crusaders (17-2) beat Greensburg Central Catholic to win the WPIAL crown.

“It meant the world to me and the rest of my teammates, especially after the passing of our coach,” Golupski said. “It was really hard to play the next morning. We knew we had to do it for him. Everything we’ve done this year was for him and our fellow teammates.”

Clarion (23-0) never let WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin in the match. The Lady Crusaders only recorded three kills in the first set, while the Bobcats’ offense was humming.

Korrin Buns and Erica Selfridge, who tied for a match-high 16 kills, set the tone by knocking down kills for the first two points of the match.

The Bobcats never trailed in the first set and made it difficult for Bishop Canevin to hit.

The Crusaders scored 10 of their first-set points — seven attack and three service — on Clarion errors.

“We had to give it 110%,” Golupski said. “We may or may not have done that tonight. Things happen. We didn’t play our best. It’s the way life goes. You have to face adversity, and you have to either take it head on or sit down.”

Bishop Canevin assistant coach Danelle Wagner said the Crusaders gave the Bobcats too many opportunities.

“We needed to put pressure on, and a lot of times, they would give them a free ball and they would swing a big ball back at us,” Wagner said. “We made intimidating choices at moments when we should have gone aggressive. We haven’t played that way all year, and it’s not how you win a championship.”

Clarion trailed early in the second set before Selfridge opened things up. She recorded three straight kills to put the Bobcats ahead 10-7. It was part of a 4-0 run that put Clarion ahead for good.

“We’ve been passing really well,” Bobcats coach Shari Campbell said. “We tried to take advantage of those free balls. We demand location in our passing, so when we get a free ball, we expect that ball to go to (senior setter) Brenna (Campbell).”

The loss to Clarion marked the fifth time Bishop Canevin has lost to the Bobcats in the PIAA playoffs since the 2010 season. Wagner believes the loss is a valuable learning experience for the program moving forward.

“We talked about the difference between the team on the other side and us,” Wagner said. “When Clarion was up 24-11 in the third set, their girls were diving 30 feet away to go after everything, and we watched balls fall 2 feet away from us. We saw today the heart and the grit it takes to win a championship.”

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