Bishop Carroll’s Sarah Gomish was unhappy with her play in Saturday’s District 6 Class A title game loss to Penns Manor.
The junior middle hitter more than made up for that lapse on Tuesday, registering 26 kills and 16 service points as the Huskies defeated District 5 champion North Star in PIAA first-round action. Carroll won in straight sets 25-13, 25-17, 25-19.
“The mental attitude that I had tonight was to not get down on myself or my team and to just be positive and keep strong,” said Gomish, whose team will face District 4 champ Williamson, a 3-1 winner over District 3 champion Halifax, on Saturday in second-round action at a site and time to be determined. “Tonight we really clicked. We did everything that we had to do. Our passing was there, our sets were there and that let us be able to hit the ball and that was what gave us a boost because they weren’t able to pick it up and we got the kills.”
Huskies coach Joe Skura knew his team was going to be in a battle against the state-ranked Cougars (20-1).
“We didn’t give many easy free balls to them to hit,” Skura said about North Star. “Sarah and I talked (after the district championship) and she knew it and she came in here hungry tonight. Sarah brought her game tonight.”
North Star coach Tony Crisafulli said his team was flat all night.
“We didn’t execute the game plan that we came in with,” the North Star coach said. “We got outplayed tonight. We knew coming in that they had some strong hitters and an aggressive defense. We prepared for it we just didn’t execute. We just picked the wrong time to come out flat and have a bad match and unfortunately it was the last match of the season.”
The Huskies (17-6) never trailed and were tied just once, 1-1, in the first game. Carroll finished with its biggest lead of the game at the end of the first.
“The game plan against North Star was to be solid in our passing because when our passing is off, we can’t run our offense,” Gomish said.
The Cougars rebounded slightly in the second game, taking an early lead, but after a tie at 5 courtesy of a Gomish kill, the Huskies went ahead, scoring the next five points on Gomish’s serve. North Star pulled back to within one, 14-13 on an Ellie Fleegle block, but could get no closer.
In the third game, there were three ties in the early going and the Huskies took the lead 8-7 on a Cougars unforced error into the net.
North Star came back to forge four more ties, but another Gomish kill helped Carroll gain the upper hand and the Huskies went on to the sweep.
Fleegle finished with 11 kills and Krista Valentine had 11 assists for North Star. Ellie Yahner added 12 kills and Janelle Gueguen had 36 assists for the Huskies.
“I think they came in ready to play a good North Star team that won their district and was going to give us a battle and they did,” Skura said. “That loss in the district title game I think hit them right before we came into that gym. That we were there and didn’t do it and didn’t give everything that we had. They don’t want our season to be over. That’s the biggest motivation.”
The Carroll coach said his team is pleased to move on in the state playoffs.
“We’re excited to continue on and represent District 6,” Skura said. “This is the first time we ever made it to a district title match much less to the state tournament.”
Added Gomish: “It’s a really big deal for us to even get to this first round in the state playoffs because no one from Bishop Carroll has ever gotten here before.”