Nar­ra­tive changes for Cubs fans and their cham­pi­ons

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Don Bab­win and Carla K. John­son

They spoke of heart­break and black cats and goats. And fi­nally, Chicago Cubs fans spoke with pride about win­ning it all.

This is new ter­ri­tory for these long-suf­fer­ing fans and it showed on Thurs­day, the day af­ter the Cubs wrapped up their first World Se­ries cham­pi­onship since 1908 with a Game 7, ex­tra-in­ning thriller in Cleve­land against the In­di­ans. Amid all the cel­e­brat­ing and re­lief and joy ahead of Fri-

In a com­plete de­par­ture from a pre­vi­ous reg­u­lar sea­son clash 28 days ear­lier, these two crosstown ri­vals bat­tled for three close, con­tested sets. The Whip­pets were in each one, but the un­beaten Ea­gles man­aged to put on a spurt at end of each set to ul­ti­mately pre­vail, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23.

“We made (Shana­han) work hard for it,” Par­rish said. “I’m not sure many peo­ple be­lieved we are this good. Maybe tonight, we showed some peo­ple some things.”

Now 21-0 over­all, Shana­han will play sec­ond-seeded Ply­mouth Whitemarsh for the district crown on Satur­day, 6 p.m., at Up­per Dublin High School. The Ea­gles have al­ready made five District 1 fi­nal ap­pear­ances under Ash­man, and have taken home four ti­tles, in­clud­ing the 2015 crown.

“We knew (Down­ing­town West) would come out fight­ing,” said Shana­han’s su­per fresh­man Cara Shultz.

“This was ab­so­lutely the best thing we could ask for: to be chal­lenged,” Ash­man added.

“West was able to com­pete with us at the net, which a lot of peo­ple haven’t been able to do be­cause of our size and power. They made our hit­ters and set­ters think more.”

The Whip­pets fall to 17-3 over­all, and will play sixth­seeded Coun­cil Rock North in the third-place match on Satur­day. Down­ing­town West has al­ready punched its ticket to the state tour­na­ment.

“I am very proud of the way my girls played,” Par­rish said. “We ba­si­cally lost by a nine or 10-point mar­gin (in each set) the first time we played. This time we closed that mar­gin. We are a much bet­ter team than we were a month ago.”

The Whip­pets served no­tice in the open­ing set that the sec­ond time around wasn’t go­ing to be any­thing like the first. There were 13 ties in all, the last com­ing at 23-23. Bishop Shana­han, how­ever, closed it out by forc­ing West into mak­ing er­rors on the last two points.

Set No. 2 was tied at 15all when the Ea­gles went on a 7-0 run that started with back-to-back blocks by Re­nee Shultz and Michaela Devlin. The Whip­pets fought hard to stay in it, but Shana­han got late kills from Cara and Re­nee Shultz to make it 2-0.

“In be­tween the sec­ond and third set, I told our kids, ‘It’s not over yet. You have to be pre­pared to go five. These guys are go­ing to come back,’” Ash­man re­called.

And West did, roar­ing out to a 15-11 lead. But that’s when the Ea­gles staged an 8-0 surge, on the strength of two ser­vice aces from ju­nior Ce­an­dra Ash­man and a cou­ple blocks from Devlin.

“Ce­an­dra had been strug­gling with her serve. It seemed like it was ei­ther an ace or an er­ror,” said her fa­ther and coach. “But she did phe­nom­e­nal. I’m proud of her.”

The Whip­pets made one last stand to re­gain the lead at 23-22, but Shana­han scored the fi­nal three points. Re­nee Shultz de­liv­ered a kill and an ace, and Alexa Mar­cum reg­is­tered a kill on match-point.

“We are still com­ing to­gether as a team and fig­ur­ing it out,” said Ce­an­dra Ash­man, who fin­ished with 18 as­sists.

“This match was good for us. (West) gave is a bet­ter match this time, and that’s good be­cause it showed us how good we can be if we push our­selves.”

Down­ing­town West got 11 kills from Aly Rear­don, six kills apiece from So­phie Gelling and Ken­zie Pin­cura, and 17 digs from Regina Schetroma.

“(Bishop Shana­han) served us very tough in a cou­ple ro­ta­tions, and we got stuck there,” Par­rish ex­plained. “The last two (sets), the dif­fer­ence was that one ro­ta­tion.

“We had our chances, and when you get close like that, you have to take ad­van­tage. Hope­fully we’ll learn from this.”

Cara Shultz led the way for the Ea­gles with 17 kills, in­clud­ing five in the de­cid­ing set. Mar­cum added nine kills and Re­nee Shultz notched four of her seven kills in the third.

“To beat a team like (West) 3-0 is huge,” Cara Shultz said.

“From here on, ev­ery match is go­ing to get harder and harder. If we are go­ing to go ahead and win dis­tricts and even­tu­ally states, we are go­ing to have to play our very best.”

PETE BANNAN - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Bishop Shana­han’s Jenna Los­ito hits a re­verse shot in the Ea­gles’ 3-0 vic­tory over Down­ing­town West in their District 1-AAAA semi­fi­nal Thurs­day.

PETE BANNAN - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Bishop Shana­han’s Ce­an­dra Ash­man (44) sets for a team­mate dur­ing the Ea­gles’ 3-0 win over Down­ing­town West in their 1-AAAA semi­fi­nal Thurs­day.

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