MARPLE TWP. — Trailing by two sets and down two points in the third game, Cardinal O’Hara volleyball coach Bill Collins called a timeout to settle his players down.
He wasn’t the only one.
During the timeout, senior middle hitter and reigning Daily Times girls basketball Player of the Year Maggie Doogan went up to each one of her teammates during the huddle and offered words of encouragement.
“I thought it was important to keep everyone upbeat and positive,” Doogan said. “It’s really hard, especially in this sport, it’s really easy to get down on yourself so I just wanted to keep that positivity up.”
Doogan’s reassurance could not prevent the inevitable. York Suburban won two of the next four points to complete a 3-0 sweep of the Lions in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament Thursday night at O’Hara.
The Lions did show grit and determination, the same qualities they showed in winning the Catholic League and District 12 titles, in the loss to the No. 2 ranked team in Class 3A, according to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.
The Trojans (24-1) may have swept the match to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals against District 11 champ Bethlehem Catholic, but they had to fight to knock off the determined Lions.
“It’s a match that could have gone either way,” Sonia Guyer said. “Every point was a battle.”
The match was decided by a total of eight points: 27-25, 25-21, 25-23 and the Lions (20-7) had the lead late in all three sets. O’Hara was up, 23-20, in the first set, 21-20 in the second and 20-18 in the third.
“We did not have our best night at all,” Collins said. “We had 38 unforced errors in a three-set match. Just do the math. You’re handing the No. 2 ranked team in the state half of every set. Yet what I just told them was that we were down two sets and four points early in the third set. They could have rolled over and died and they didn’t. That’s been the mark of this team all season.”
Every time the Lions had the lead or appeared to have the momentum, York Suburban had a response and it was usually outside hitter Eliana Rodgers and right side/middle hitter Zoe Haines doing the work, with the help of setter Grace Hare (23 assists) and Anna Titter and Amanda Sargen (10 digs each) on the defensive end.
Rodgers had eight kills, nine digs and two blocks. Haines led the attack with 14 kills and two blocks. Many of their kills came at critical moments. Rodgers had a kill to break a 22-22 tie in the third set and then blocked a big swing by O’Hara’s Bridget McGuinn to seal the victory. Haines pounded a kill off a block attempt by McGuinn and Sarah Kelly to put the match away.
“They are our firecrackers,” Guyer said. “They’re people who we know can get it done, but at the same time, when we need to, others can contribute and get it done.”
Collins was not surprised that Rodgers and Haines stepped up when the Trojans needed it.
“They were the two girls I was concerned about,” Collins said. “I watched a lot of film of them and I knew they were their two best players.”
It was a team effort that kept the Lions in the game. McGuinn finished with 10 kills, five digs and two aces. Doogan had nine kills and one block. Sophomore Jasmine Sullivan added seven kills and four digs. Setter Julianna Cloran dished out seven assists.
“It was a tough game,” McGuinn said. “We stuck with it. We played hard and gave it everything we had. It just didn’t happen for us. It’s upsetting, but I’m happy with what we’ve done this season.”
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