Bishop Canevin’s Lady Crusaders ‘ace’ goal, snag championship
When the Bishop Canevin girls volleyball players started practices for the season, they set out to be outright section champions.
“It was our first objective,” said Head Coach Kevin Walters.
Not only have they achieved their goal, they aced it. The Lady Crusaders went undefeated in Section 6-A. The only section contest to make it to five matches was in the section opener against Chartiers-Houston.
“I think we have always been in the underdogs in our section,” Emily Baric-Tarnow said. “We came out with a good group of girls and played really well.”
Playing well has become part of the dynamics under Walters. The season before he took over the squad, the team had one section win. The total jumped to six in Walter’s first year, nine in his second, 11 in his third and 14 in his fourth.
Walters stressed the importance of mastering the little things. He said the four key things he stresses to the team are good serving, good serve receiving, strong defense and communication on the court.
“Those four things are what will lead to a majority of wins,” Walters said. “The offense will take care of (itself). In any team sport, mastering the little things is essential.”
Bishop Canevin mastered nonsection games with a 4-2 record. The Lady Crusaders fell to Girard, Ohio, a team Walters described as a very good Class AA school. They also fell to Knoch in a match that went five games, and Walters said his team probably should have won but he made some mistakes.
“I am a firm believer of scheduling the best teams,” Walters said. “We had six out-of-conference opponents; five of those teams were Class AA.
“Making the girls play bigger, stronger teams will prepare them. We might not always win, but playing strong teams helps them gain ability to be ready for what they might run into down the road.”
The preparation has shown on the court.
Junior Natalie Medved leads the team with 227 kills, followed by Dana Heidenreich with 182 kills. Heidenreich leads the team with 88 blocks. Katie Oliverio is the dig leader with 151.
Baric-Tarnow is described as a utility player, as Walters has moved her around the court in various places as needed.
Walters said the success of the season is not based on a senior-oriented team. There are only two senior starters on the squad.
In their first playoff game, the Lady Crusaders defeated Seton-La Salle, 3-0.
“We are confident going into playoffs, but we are not going to overlook the teams ahead of us,” Joie Hrapla said.