GCC girls hope to keep dancing into PIAA championship game
Before Saturday’s PIAA quarterfinal match, the Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball team stood in a line in the gym at Slippery Rock and did a choreographed dance to the song “Cotton Eye Joe.”
Haley Moore, a senior setter, said the pregame ritual was started by teammate Abbie Hutchins at the beginning of the WPIAL playoffs. Hutchins didn’t play Saturday because of illness, but the team carried on the tradition.
“We always bring a speaker on the bus, and we (dance) before every game,” Moore said. “(Abby) couldn’t be here (Saturday) because she was sick, so we did it for her too. I think it really gets us energized.”
The pregame dancing is a part of a fun atmosphere promoted by Centurions coach Kate McCauley. It has been a successful strategy.
The WPIAL champion Centurions are one game away from playing for their second PIAA title in three years. They play District 9 champion Coudersport in the Class A state semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dubois.
“I really preach having fun. I’ve done studies in college about it, and having fun really makes a difference when you play,” McCauley said. “I always have fun at practice and during games. I always notice when they have those stone-cold looks on their faces that someone needs to crack a joke and lighten the mood a bit.”
McCauley’s theory was put to the test during Saturday’s match against Maplewood.
In the first two sets, Maplewood controlled play and frustrated the Centurions en route a 2-0 lead. McCauley became animated at times during the match. She paced the bench while biting on a pen.
But after the second set, the Centurions realized they needed to get back to having fun or their season was going to be finished.
“The first two games, we really weren’t ourselves,” Moore said. “The key for us is to go around and make everybody laugh and get a smile on their face. As soon as we do that, we’re good.”
Greensburg Central Catholic (27-1) rallied to win the match 3-2. Senior middle hitter Mikayla Bisignani had 30 kills.
Coudersport (22-2) won the District 9 title for the first time in 13 years, which also was the last time it made the PIAA playoffs. The Falcons defeated District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle, 3-1, in the quarterfinals Saturday, advancing to the semifinals for the first time.
Coudersport is located in Potter County — in the northern part of central Pennsylvania — approximately 25 miles from the New York border.
The Centurions’ seven seniors — Moore, Bisignani, Hutchins, Kennedy Johnston, Christine Cochenour, Brittany Stawovy and Taylor Obusek— were on the 2014 team that won the state title. They’re hoping their experience will help them make a return trip to the finals.
“Every girl dreams of ending their volleyball career with a win, especially a state championship, so that’s the ultimate goal,” Bisignani said.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.