Shana­han storms back to reach quar­ters

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Ed Mor­lock emor­lock@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @emor09 on Twit­ter

UP­PER DUBLIN >> The Bishop Shana­han girls vol­ley­ball team found it­self in an un­fa­mil­iar po­si­tion Tues­day night in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A state play­offs at Up­per Dublin High School. The Ea­gles were trail­ing. The team that hadn’t lost a set since Septem­ber dropped the opener to Lib­erty.

That didn’t faze the Ea­gles. They ral­lied and won the next three sets to ad­vance in the tour­na­ment, 19-25, 25-15, 26-24, 2516.

“I think the big­gest thing with our girls, we knew com­ing in that our streak of win­ning in three was done,” Shana­han coach Greg Ash­man said. “We hadn’t lost a set since the mid­dle of Septem­ber when we played Em­maus. We knew it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen go­ing through tonight … That’s the big­gest thing we talked to the girls about. If we drop a set, you need to be able to come back.

“These kids are so re­silient. We’ve come from be­hind so many times in sets this sea­son that we knew that we had it in us, that we have that char­ac­ter to just keep push­ing and push­ing and push­ing.”

Af­ter the first set went to Lib­erty, the teams were dead­locked through the early por­tion of the sec­ond set. Through 24 points, the set was tied 12-12.

That’s where Bishop Shana­han pulled away, scor­ing the next seven points to take a com­mand­ing 19-12 ad­van­tage and rid­ing the mo­men­tum to a 25-15 win to even the match, 1-1.

The third set was the one to win it for Shana­han. They trailed by five, 18-13, before hit­ting their stride and even­tu­ally ty­ing it up at 24 on a Cara Shultz ace. She fol­lowed that with an­other serve that Lib­erty couldn’t re­turn and Re­nee Shultz closed out the set, 26-24, with a kill.

Shana­han made the same move in the fourth set that it did in the sec­ond. With the teams tied at 12, the Ea­gles went on a run. They scored eight of the next nine points to take con­trol and even­tu­ally closed out the set, 2516, in style with a Jenna Los­ito ace.

“Pick­ing each other up,” Ash­man said of where the team im­proved fol­low­ing the first set. “In the first set we just looked at each other wait­ing for some­body to step up and do things.”

Cara Shultz fin­ished the match with 14 kills, 11 digs and three aces. Re­nee Shultz had 16 as­sists, eight kills and one ace. Los­ito had 15 digs and two aces.

Shana­han will face Arch­bishop Car­roll in the sec­ond round of the play­offs Satur­day.

“It doesn’t get any eas­ier,” Ash­man said. “We pull the No. 3 seed in the state Car­roll. Then if we win that one, we pull the No. 2 seed Park­land. It doesn’t get any eas­ier. I wouldn’t ask for it any other way. If you want to win a state ti­tle – we haven’t won one since 2009 and in 2009 we had the tough­est road to go through – that’s the only way to do it. That way you

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