EXETER >> Cardinal O’Hara volleyball coach Bill Collins knew his Lions were up against it when they faced Allentown Central Catholic in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals at Exeter High School Saturday afternoon.
“They’re one of the most talented teams we’ve seen this year,” Collins said. “We were going to have to play our ‘A’ game and they were going to have to have an off day for us to beat them.”
The Vikings received a combined 21 kills from Dana Roberts (10), Grace Barr (6) and Rachel Hess (5) and waltzed past O’Hara, 25-15, 25-17, 25-21, ending O’Hara’s season.
“I’d like to see the team that beats them,” Collins said. “They’re so strong, especially in the middle. They didn’t do anything we didn’t know they were going to do, they just did it very well.”
The Lions were never really in the match, as the likes of Megan Nelson (10 service points) and Julia Bradford (12 service points) kept the Lions’ offense at bay.
Whenever the Lions made a strong move, the Vikings countered with a stronger one.
Allentown Central Catholic took leads of 7-4 and 17-11 behind the play of Roberts and Bradford, then iced the first set easily.
The only thing troubling the Vikings was a series of serving miscues.
“We made some very bad serving errors,” said \coach Laurie Corcoran, “so we’ll spend some time before our next match shoring that up.”
Meanwhile, the Lions couldn’t get anything going.
Charlee Borcky had a strong match (8 kills, 4 digs, 2 assists) while Meaghan MacWilliams chipped in 17 assists and three blocks, but the Lions were just overmatched by a Vikings team that refused to make errors at critical times.
“Right now we’re really playing well as a team,” Corcoran said. “No one player is standing out. Our individuals are collaborating, and making us a great team.”
Allentown Central Catholic simply wouldn’t let up, taking leads of 9-4 and 15-9 in the second set.
O’Hara got as close as 17-13, but Nelson and Bradford served out the set, and the Vikings needed only one more set to close out the match.
They accomplished it with a minimum of difficulty, although the Lions were within 15-12 before the Vikings put it away.
While some of the Lions were upset at the outcome, Collins said he was pleased the team played as well as it did, and he was quite proud of the way his team finished off the season.
“Hey, we finished 22-4, and our only two losses over the past six weeks were today and a five-set loss to Archbishop Carroll in (the Catholic League) finals,” Collins said. “We’ve played very well after a slow start this year, and it’s going to be tough watching our seniors go.
“We’ve had a great season, and I can’t wait to see what we’ll look like next year.”