Shana­han nabs dis­trict crown

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Tim Hindin thindin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

Satur­day after­noon’s Dis­trict 1-AAAA cham­pi­onship game fea­tured a pair of heavy­weights do­ing bat­tle as the No. 1 seed Bishop Shana­han (13-0 Ch­esMont) and No. 2 seed Ply­mouth Whitemarsh (18-0 Sub­ur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal) squared off.

“I think it’s a trib­ute to the sys­tem that we’ve got run­ning that we get the No. 1 and No. 2 team in the last two years in the fi­nals,” Shana­han coach Greg Ash­man said. “This year, to have a team 25-0 and a team 21-0 to rep­re­sent this, I think it’s the most ex­cit­ing thing you can have.”

Sim­ply put PW played well, just not well enough to win the match as Shana­han claimed the dis­trict ti­tle with a 3-0 (26-24,25-21,25-10) straight sets win.

“I am com­pletely happy with

the way they played. They played re­ally, re­ally well,” PW coach Seely Byler said. “They played re­ally well, they just came across a team who is ex­cel­lent.”

The Colo­nials made great de­fen­sive plays all game as the work for their back line was def­i­nitely cut out with the pow­er­ful and skill­ful hit­ters of Shana­han. The size of the Ea­gles also made it dif­fi­cult for the hit­ters of PW to hit through or around the Ea­gle block.

“We did our best to line our block up against their re­ally strong out­sides and do what we could in the back row and I think my girls played awe­some,” Byler said.

The match swung in the sec­ond set as Shana­han trailed 15-12 but a 6-1 run from the Ea­gles al­lowed them to re­cap­ture the lead and never look back. Shana­han closed the sec­ond set out on a 13-6 run, giv­ing it a two sets to none lead and mo­men­tum head­ing into the third set.

“I knew once we came back in that sec­ond set even if it did go four or even five that we had the con­fi­dence and the jit­ters were all out of us that we were go­ing to be able to do things,” Ash­man said.

Shana­han will have a tough draw in the first round of the PIAA state play­offs as it will take on one of the top ranked teams in the state in Lib­erty. While the matchup is un­fa­vor­able the Ea­gles will en­ter the state play­offs with im­mense con­fi­dence as they blew through the dis­trict play­offs with­out drop­ping a set.

“We’ve only dropped three sets all sea­son,” Ash­man said. “We haven’t dropped a set in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber yet.”

“We’re ca­pa­ble of any­thing and the last few weeks have proven that. We’ve got a tough draw right out of the gate; we play the No. 1 team in the state on Tues­day night we play Lib­erty. That’s a match equiv­a­lent to a state fi­nal, we have to play them in the first round, and hope­fully we can do the same thing over again.”

For the dis­trict run­ner up Colo­nials the loss won’t shake their con­fi­dence as they know they lost to a high cal­iber team and also know it’s ca­pa­ble of play­ing with any team.

“We’re try­ing to just build on the mo­men­tum,” Byler said. “They played a great match tonight so we’re just go­ing to use that go­ing into states. We played a re­ally de­fen­sive game and I’m so happy with how they played so we’re go­ing to use that against who­ever we see on Tues­day.”

“I knew once we came back in that sec­ond set even if it did go four or even five that we had the con­fi­dence and the jit­ters were all out of us that we were go­ing to be able to do things.” — Bishop Shana­han coach Greg Ash­man

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