Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball takes aim at long playoff run

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | 1:07 PM

Over the past decade, two teams, including one from Westmoreland County, have dominated the WPIAL Class A girls volleyball playoffs.

Allegheny County’s Bishop Canevin has won six championships since 2012, and the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions gathered up the remaining three.

Could there be another title run in store this year for GCC?

“I believe we can go far in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs,” said GCC coach Angela Komoroski, who is in her first season with the Centurions. “I know what our girls can do, and as long as they don’t let down, I see no reason why we can’t contend for a championship. We love the competition.”

GCC (13-3) entered the 2021 WPIAL Class A playoffs as the No. 3 seed and defeated No. 14 South Side (6-9), 3-0, in a first-round match Tuesday.

With top-seeded Bishop Canevin (21-1) having beaten Greensburg Central Catholic in the 2020 WPIAL final to claim the only PIAA playoff spot in a covid-19 shortened season and again this year during the regular season, is it any wonder Komoroski couldn’t help looking ahead to a rematch?

She knows a spot in the WPIAL final isn’t guaranteed for either school, but it doesn’t mean there’s no chance of another head-to-head playoff matchup somewhere along the way.

“I definitely expect to see Bishop Canevin in the WPIALs, and I know the girls want to play Bishop Canevin again,” said Komoroski, who this season led GCC to a Section 4 record of 11-1 in her first year. She said the Centurions have been depending heavily on the play of their seniors, all of whom, she said, are among the contenders for WPIAL all-section honors.

Rebecca Hess, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, leads the way as a four-year starter for GCC and is joined by team captain 5-5 defensive specialist/opposite Isabella Guerrieri, 5-11 middle/outside hitter Julia Kratzenberg, 5-6 middle hitter Grace Petnuch and 5-6 outside hitter Danielle D’Alessio.

“They’re the core of the team,” Komoroski said. “Without them, I don’t know how we would do. Their talent level is high.”

Two underclassmen — junior defensive specialist/libero Kayla Desak and sophomore setter Emily Hess — also have drawn Komoroski’s attention.

“They’re both a huge part of what we do,” she said. “Kayla has worked hard to earn the libero spot, a very important position, and Emily had had only one year of junior varsity competition before this. She’s been a major force.”

Komoroski said her team embraces the “underdog” label when it comes to a possible rematch with Bishop Canevin, the No. 1 team in the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association WPIAL Class A poll.

GCC was beaten 3-0 on the road by Bishop Canevin in a Sept. 13 best-of-five regular-season match. The Crusaders opened the WPIAL playoffs also on Tuesday against Cornell.

“We didn’t meet our high expectations in that match.” Komoroski said. “But we’ve had almost a whole season to improve, so any nerves should be taken care of by now and we should be able to put it all on the floor.”

Bishop Canevin has held the top spot in the WPVCA WPIAL Class A poll and was sitting at No. 5 at the start of the week in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association PIAA rankings.

GCC, meanwhile, was No. 5 in the WPIAL poll and unranked in the PIAA poll.

GCC and No. 4 Leechburg finished in a first-place tie in Section 4, each winning a match at home against the other during the regular season.

“The season so far has been pretty much what I expected,” Komoroski said. “It’s not always been a cakewalk. There have been ups and downs, but we got through it. The biggest thing was to get the girls to bond. Everyone needed to understand we needed to jell. Right now, I believe we have the best possible lineup and the girls are really comfortable with it.

“And it shows on the court.”


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