Un­beaten Shana­han trounces Great Val­ley

Un­beaten Shana­han trounces Gar­net Val­ley

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan @21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

CON­CORD >> In a reg­u­lar sea­son show­down be­tween two of the pre­mier vol­ley­ball squads in all of District 1, Bishop Shana­han swept host Gar­net Val­ley, 3-0, to re­main un­beaten at 13-0.

It wasn’t easy, how­ever, for the vis­it­ing Ea­gles, who cur­rently sit atop the district power rank­ings. The Jaguars – still un­beaten in Cen­tral League ac­tion – pushed Shana­han to the brink in the first two sets be­fore fall­ing 2519 and 25-23. The Ea­gles then closed it out by cruis­ing to a 25-16 de­ci­sion in set No. 3.

“This was a big test. We came in know­ing this was im­por­tant and we would have to be fo­cused and play to the best of our abil­i­ties, and I think we did,” said Shana­han ju­nior Re­nee Shultz.

“It was a great matchup,” added her coach, Greg Ash­man. “I told our kids that this is one of those teams that is go­ing to give us trou­ble. But we held our com­po­sure very well, and it’s al­ways tough go­ing into some­one else’s gym, es­pe­cially when it’s real loud.

“(Gar­net Val­ley is) fourth in the District 1 power rank­ings, but I think they are bet­ter than the two teams ahead of them.”

De­spite the set­back, which dropped Gar­net Val­ley to 11-2 over­all, head coach Mark Clark was pleased with the way his team per­formed, es­pe­cially on de­fense.

“Our de­fense was awe­some and if we can keep that up, we will be able to play with any team,” Clark said. “Shana­han

is not just the No. 1 team in the district, but No. 2 in the state. We hung with them the first two games and then it got away from us a lit­tle in the third, but we never gave up.”

In the open­ing set, the Jags jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, but the Ea­gles scored eight of the next 10 points to take the lead for good. Shana­han then fin­ished on a 10-4 run.

“We seem to have slow starts, but we tend to get rolling as we go along,” Ash­man ex­plained. “One of our strengths is power at the net, both with our swing and our block.”

The sec­ond set sure looked like a clash be­tween the Ches-Mont League stan­dard bearer against a Cen­tral League power. In all, there were 14 ties, in­clud­ing ev­ery point from 15 to 23. But the Ea­gles pulled it out thanks to a kill by Michaela Devlin and a ser­vice ace from fresh­man Cara Shultz, Re­nee’s younger sis­ter.

“There are just a few lit­tle things here and there that was the dif­fer­ence,” Clark said.

With Cara Shultz lead­ing the way, Shana­han put to­gether an­other rally in the third set, to open a com­mand­ing 21-11 lead. And al­though Gar­net Val­ley fought back, the Ea­gles ended it with con­sec­u­tive kills by Re­nee Shultz, Ce­an­dra Ash­man. Alexa Mar­cum and Ju­lia Thomas.

“We can sus­tain long ral­lies, which is a credit to our de­fense. We work on that very hard. Noth­ing de­flates an op­po­nent more than a long rally,” Ash­man said.

“It’s im­por­tant to get mo­men­tum and keep with it,” Re­nee Shultz added. “I am proud of the way we did that. We cel­e­brated the points we got and we picked each other up on the ones we didn’t.”

For a big chunk of the ac­tion, Cara Shultz was the dom­i­nant player on the floor. The fresh­man fin­ished with 15 kills, four aces and 13 digs.

“It’s def­i­nitely been a tran­si­tion,” she said. “There are girls out there that are three years older than me, and they have so much more ex­pe­ri­ence than I do. I just have to keep ad­just­ing.”

Cara is the third Shultz sis­ter to play for Shana­han, along with Rita and Re­nee. The fresh­man’s as­cent has not been much of a sur­prise to Ash­man.

“Maybe the one thing that’s sur­prised me is how well she is han­dling the pres­sure of play­ing var­sity vol­ley­ball,” he said. “In our first match of

the sea­son, she was blocked a cou­ple times right away. I re­mem­ber sit­ting down and say­ing to her, ‘wel­come to high school vol­ley­ball.’ It’s dif­fer­ent now be­cause she is play­ing against 18-year-olds and not kids who are 15 or 16.”

Re­nee Shultz, chipped in with nine kills, 15 as­sists, seven digs and two blocks. It may sur­prise some to learn that the Ea­gles are ac­tu­ally quite young, with only two se­niors play­ing in the top 10 ro­ta­tion.

“We are a very young team, and there are times in matches where we’ve been noth­ing but un­der­class­men on the court,” Ash­man said. “That’s why we tell the kids, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are a whole team, and we can plug a lot of peo­ple in there.”

Nicole Loan and Erin Pater­son paced the Jaguars with nine and seven kills, re­spec­tively. In ad­di­tion, team­mates Gabby Davis (25 as­sists) and Lizzie Herestofa (26 digs) also con­trib­uted.

“We were play­ing to win, but I’m happy with the way we played,” Clark said. “Shana­han had so many weapons all over the floor, and we haven’t seen any­thing like that all sea­son.

“This will def­i­nitely get us ready for the rest of the reg­u­lar sea­son and on into the post­sea­son.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Bishop Shana­han’s Cara Shultz drills a ball past Gar­net Val­ley’s Syd­ney Por­tale on Wed­nes­day.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ju­lianne Gal­lagher of Bishop Shana­han re­turns a Gar­net Val­ley serve Wed­nes­day.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Alyssa Wright (7) and Michaela Devlin (28) of Bishop Shana­han go up to block Gar­net Val­ley’s Nicole Loan dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s non­league vol­ley­ball match.

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