Freeport sweeps York Catholic to say PIAA Class 2A women volleyball crown

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Saturday, November 19, 2022 | 3:31 PM


MECHANICSBURG — Josie Russo celebrated her seventeenth birthday Saturday, and she or he could not have requested for a greater present.

The Freeport junior center hitter’s block at match level towards District 3 champion York Catholic closed out a 3-0 sweep of the Combating Irish at Cumberland Valley Excessive College and gave the Yellowjackets their first PIAA Class 2A state title since 2017 and the second such championship in program historical past.

“That is wonderful,” Russo mentioned. “We labored so arduous for this. Successful WPIALs after which profitable states. It’s simply unreal.”

The sweep—with sport scores of 25-21, 25-15 and 25-18—capped off a postseason run through which Freeport gained 24 of the 27 video games it performed over seven match victories. The Yellowjackets added state gold to the seventh WPIAL title they gained Nov. 5.

Freeport made it to the PIAA closing after falling in final 12 months’s Class 3A state semifinals.

The Yellowjackets held an early 6-2 lead in Sport 3 earlier than York Catholic battled again to 10-10 led by the hitting prowess of senior exterior hitter Adeline Phillips.

The rating later was tied 18-18 earlier than a push kill from All-WPIAL senior setter Cassidy Dell gave Freeport the lead for good. Freeport coach Tom Phillips mentioned Dell wasn’t enjoying at one hundred pc after struggling an damage within the semifinal win over Philipsburg-Osceola.

“We weren’t positive if she was going to play right this moment,” Phillips mentioned. “Thank God we bought an excellent coach who labored on her for a few days. She was excellent. Josie was terrific within the center, and our protection was stellar.”

The Yellowjackets completed the sport with a 7-0 run.

“We simply realized that we had 25 extra factors, and with 25 extra factors, we have been going to be state champions,” Russo mentioned. “We considered our ‘Refuse To Lose’ motto, and we saved pushing.”

A serve from senior libero Ava Soilis that the Combating Irish protection was unable to return put Freeport on the cusp at 24-18, and Russo’s block ended it and ignited a mob celebration on the court docket.

“I used to be actually nervous there, and when it was like 20-18 within the third set, I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re gonna win this!’ sophomore exterior hitter Alaina Whitlinger mentioned.

Junior exterior hitter Sydney Selker was understandably thrilled, too.

“My feelings are via the roof,” Selker mentioned. “In that third set, we actually needed to buckle down. Though they have been coming again, we knew we have been up two units, and we needed to complete that one as a result of we did not wish to go to a fourth set and provides them any momentum.

“That is such a terrific feeling as a result of we knew from the start of the 12 months that we needed to make it this far since we misplaced final 12 months within the state semis. We labored tremendous arduous every day. We set targets for ourselves, and we achieved a lot. We get alongside so nicely, and I feel our crew chemistry is an enormous motive we bought this far.”

York Catholic took an 18-12 lead in Sport 1, and Freeport seemed to be just a little out of kinds.

Phillips referred to as a timeout to settle his gamers down, and it labored.

The Yellowjackets responded with an 11-1 run to take a 23-19 lead on hits from Russo, Whitlinger and sophomore Leah Schrecongost and a few York Catholic miscues.

A Whitlinger kill gave Freeport the lead for good at 20-19, and one other Whitlinger hit that wasn’t returned by the Combating Irish prolonged the Yellowjackets’ benefit to 24-20.

A York Catholic serve at 24-21 sailed past the top line, capping the sport for Freeport.

Freeport raced out to a 12-4 lead in Sport 2 earlier than York Catholic rallied to tie the rating 12-12.

Dell delivered a pair of kills to present the Yellowjackets again the lead, and a Dell serve that was not returned prolonged the benefit to 18-14.

Freeport saved rolling from there. It later scored the ultimate 5 factors of the sport on a kill from Schrecongost, a block from Russo and Schrecongost, a block from Russo and Whitlinger, a Selker serve that was not returned and a Russo kill for the 25-15 closing.

The state title was the second for assistant coach Claire Crytzer, a senior on the 2017 Yellowjackets title crew that topped District 3’s Delone Catholic for the gold at Richland Excessive College in Johnstown.

“I’m so blissful for these women,” she mentioned. “I understand how a lot it means to them to be a state champion and the way arduous it’s to get right here. To see them work so arduous to get right here and to win all of it, I’m simply so happy with them. They performed lights out right this moment and actually earned it.”

York Catholic, making its first PIAA finals look, concluded its at season 23-2. The Combating Irish’s solely different loss this season got here to Delone Catholic within the common season.

“I’m so happy with my crew,” Combating Irish coach Phillip Autrey mentioned. “They’ve labored arduous and battled. After we let that run go in Set One, credit score Freeport as they did precisely what they wanted to do to get again within the match. However we began watching what was taking place on the court docket. In units two and three, the women got here again to play the sort of volleyball we do daily within the gymnasium.

“However by that time, Freeport was working on all cylinders. It was going to be a troublesome battle to try to cease them. We had a few alternatives, however once more, credit score to an excellent crew and an excellent coach who has been round for a very long time and is aware of these conditions. They deserved (to win) it.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Overview Employees Author. You’ll be able to contact Michael by e mail at mlove@triblive.com or by way of Twitter .

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