Knoch, Knoch – Who’s There? – WPIAL 3-A Girls Volleyball Champion Knights
By: Don Rebel
Sunday, November 5, 2017 | 1:47 AM
It takes a high level of dedication and commitment to continue to pursue a championship for 32 seasons without ever winning one, but that’s what Coach Geist has done coaching the girls’ volleyball team at Knoch High School. The top seeded Knights ended that championship drought, winning the Girls 3A WPIAL Championship three sets to one over the second seeded Montour Spartans at Baldwin High School on Saturday afternoon.
“She’s an amazing coach, she really deserves this. She pushes us so hard, in a good way and we were ready for this season,” said senior Sarah Armahizer about Coach Geist. Armahizer lead the Knights with 19 kills in the match including 6 in the decisive fourth set.
Coach Geist said this about her team after the match, “I can’t put into words how proud I am of them, I am really overwhelmed. It will sink in eventually but I am just really proud right now.”
Entering the match, Knoch had not lost a set in the playoffs and only 9 sets during the season. The first set was a back and forth affair with neither team able to string together more than three points at a time. Trailing 21 – 20, the Knights won 5 of the last 7 points to win the first set 25 – 23.
Knoch dominated the second set winning it 25 – 9. The Knights started the second set by winning the first 6 points and 11 of the first 15 points. “Montour was triple blocking, which was smart on their part,” said Armahizer when asked about the difference between the first and second sets. “It was really confusing me, but our libero started to find the spots and called out the numbers for me.” Knoch’s libero is senior Carly Bozzo who adeptly called out the numbers on court which indicated to Armahizer and sophomore Hannah Rowe where to place their kill attempts.
“Communication was the key,” added Rowe, who finished with 12 kills in the match.
The Esposito sisters did their best to keep Montour in the match as senior Amalia had 18 kills and junior Rosie had 16 kills. Their efforts led the Spartans to a 27 – 25 third set win, the first set taken from Knoch during the playoffs.
The third set was won by the Knights 25-16 but they were never really threatened during the set. Knoch won the first 5 points and then traded 2 points for 1 with the Spartans until they were leading 16-8, and then 22-11 until the Spartans made the Knights earn those final 3 points necessary to capture their first championship.
Junior setter Carly Bozzo did an outstanding job directing Knoch’s offense throughout the match. Both Armahizer and Rowe had the same description of the job Bozzo did, “Amazing!”
Both teams advance to the PIAA playoffs. Knoch participated in the state playoffs last season and Montour last participated in 2001.
When asked about their chances in the state playoffs, a jubilant Rowe said, “we’re going all the way, why stop now!” Indeed, why stop now?
Montour 23 – 9 -27 – 16
Knoch 25 – 25 -25 – 25
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.