Lansdale Catholic handles Archbishop Ryan to reach PCL semifinals

RADNOR >> Lansdale Catholic High’s girls volleyball team had a strange way of opening the defense of its Philadelphia Catholic League title at Archbishop Carroll High School Wednesday night.

It fell behind Archbishop Ryan in the opening set of the playoff quarterfinal, 10-2.

But the sluggish start was quickly turned around, and by the time the Crusaders’ 25-14, 25-19, 25-16 romp over the Ragdolls was complete, they were thinking about the possibilities of a fourth consecutive title.

“It was an unfortunate start to the match,” said LC head coach Joann Pisch. “Ego Onu got hurt last week, she fractured a finger on her left hand, so made some adjustments to our lineup.

“We had to get through that start, but once we settled down, we played our game.”

Still, those opening moments left more than a few of the LC faithful a bit anxious.

“We started out slow,” said Anna Wojtko, who would finish with 11 kills. “but we picked it up and finished up strong.

“I don’t think we expected (Ryan) to come out that well, and we started out kind of quietly.”

So quiet that the Crusaders had the look of shock in their eyes.

But the fourth-seeded, three-time defending champs finally replaced that look of shock with one of confidence.

Onu entered and she and Wojtko began a series of awesome kills, and LC suddenly turned it around.

LC took a 13-12 lead, and then grabbed 12 of the next 14 points to take command.

It was more of the same in the second set, and once the Crusaders got it rolling even they couldn’t believe some of their good fortune.

On one point, two Crusaders managed to hit volleys into the girders in the roof of the gymnasium before Kelly Piotrowicz drilled a reverse overhead off the top of the net that dropped in perfectly for a point.

And the rout was on.

For good measure, after Ryan closed to within 21-19 in the second set, Onu and Emily Freer led a run that closed out the second set in favor of LC.

The third set was a foregone conclusion.

By match’s end, LC was in the semifinals and the surprisingly slow start was a distant memory.

“Ryan is a tough team,” Pisch said. “We saw them early in the season and won, 3-0, but they’ve gotten a lot better.

“But we did what we needed to do to get to the semifinals.”

“After three in a row we want to go for our fourth,” Wojtko said.

AT THE NET >> Onu finished with 15 kills, while Piotrowicz had 21 assists, four aces and seven digs.


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