GCC headed to volleyball finals after beating Beaver County Christian

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 | 10:12 PM

The Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball team is headed back to the WPIAL Class A championship for the first time since 2016.

That happened to be the first season Courtney Stynchula became the school’s coach.

The Centurions won their third WPIAL title that season and went on to become PIAA champions.

GCC, following Wednesday’s 3-1 victory against Beaver County Christian, will look for its fourth title.

The Centurions (16-0) will face top-seeded Bishop Canevin — which defeated Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 3-0, in the other semifinal — at noon Saturday at Fox Chapel.

The Centurions, behind the strong serving of Ava Bailey and Rebecca Hess, breezed to a 25-10 victory in Game 1.

But Beaver County Christian School (10-5), which advanced to the semifinals with a forfeit win against Fort Cherry because of a covid-19 case, fought back in Game 2. The Eagles took advantage of some Greensburg Central Catholic miscues for a 25-22 win to tie the match.

GCC penalized itself a few points by serving out of turn early in the match, and it never got back into rhythm.

“We had a great start in Game 1, and then we lost our energy in Game 2,” Hess said. “We just didn’t have it. In the third game, we said, ‘Hey, wow, we want to win,’ so we got our energy back and we started playing much better.”

The Centurions front line of Hess, Makenzie Kallock, Grace Petnuch and Julia Kratzenberg took over and finished off the visiting Eagles, 25-16 in Game 3 and 25-14 in Game 4.

Hess finished with 16 kills, Kallock 10, Kratzenberg nine and Petnuch seven.

“We’re a short team,” Beaver County Christian coach Christen Adels said. “They have a lot of height and a lot of experience. They really mixed it up on offense in terms of hitting hard and tipping and finding the open spots.

“The first set, they served really well and we struggled. In the second set, we got into our groove. Overall, I’m very pleased how we battled.”

And while it was a good victory for the Centurions, Stynchula knows they have to play better if they want to stay perfect and defeat Bishop Canevin.

“It’s definitely the key to have girls that can finish,” Stynchula said. “But we have to work on mixing up our hits. I love seeing those kills, but I’d rather have a smarter girl on the court.

“This has been one of our best years. Both classes (seniors and juniors) are good groups, and I think this is our year.”

Kallock said it’s exciting to get back into the finals, something she and her teammates have not done.

“We wanted the class above to get there,” Kallock said. “We’re really excited to get there. We have a really good group of juniors and seniors.

“We need to work on our consistent serving and keep the energy high the entire game. We’re a really good team when our energy is high.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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