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Frazier wins volleyball gold

MURRYSVILLE — Even as the man in charge of keeping the court clear asked them to move toward the bleachers, the mothers did not relent.

They crept past the basketball sideline and inched closer and closer to the volleyball boundaries, snapping pictures all the while.

They would not retreat on this occasion. Not when their girls, who make up the Frazier volleyball team, had just claimed the program’s first WPIAL championship.

Not as the Commodores, winners of Frazier’s first WPIAL title in a girls team sport, accepted gold medals.This occasion needed to be savored and documented — not from a distance, but up close and personal.In its first WPIAL Class A final appearance, No. 1 seed Frazier defeated No. 2 Bishop Canevin, 3-0, on Saturday at Franklin Regional.

The Commodores improved to 19-0 by winning, 25-18, 25-19, 25-15. Aside from a slow start in the second game, when they trailed, 6-1, the Commodores were dominant throughout.

“My worry coming into today was, ‘Are we going to be tight• Is this going to be overwhelming for us?’ And I started to see that in the second game,” coach Mandy Hartman said. “So, I called them in (during a timeout) and said ‘This is the best day of your life. Play volleyball. This is the game we love. É Have the time of your life.’ And I think that’s what they did.”

Frazier won eight of the next nine points to take a 9-7 lead.

Bishop Canevin (21-3) tied the score, 10-10, but Frazier responded with five points in a row and never looked back.

Frazier’s state playoff run begins Saturday at Slippery Rock. The Commodores will compete with District 10 runner-up Maplewood, District 9 champion Clarion and WPIAL third-place finisher Elderton in pool play.

Saturday’s victory, ultimately secured with senior Gena Keebler’s 10th kill, set off a wild celebration.

“The community, the administration, our school — I feel like (the win) has just revived us athletically,” Hartman said. “I turned around for the last couple points of the match and just took it all in. To see this many people, people that I haven’t seen in years, it is the most touching feeling. I really hope that we can get that pride back in Frazier.”

The players entered the match confident about their chances, and their dominance at the net — they had a 34-21 advantage in kills — provided assurance.

Keebler led the team in kills and also tallied six blocks. Amanda Pato and Megan Manack each had eight kills.

Frazier’s win included no momentum-shifting or groundbreaking moment, Pato said. The Commodores simply validated what they assumed from the start: They were the champions.

“We kind of knew from the beginning,” Pato said. “We just wanted it so bad. We knew we wanted it more than anybody. We knew were going to work and refuse to lose.”


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