Parkland women’s volleyball crosses semi-final stumbling block and heads to PIAA final

The Parkland High School Women’s Volleyball State Semi-Final with Bishop Shanahan was a close, close game.

Until, all of a sudden, that’s not the case anymore.

The Trojans stepped up a gear and claimed a 25-18, 22-25, 25-23, 25-14 victory over the District 1 champion in the PIAA Class 4A semi-finals on Tuesday evening at Exeter Township High School.

Parkland (25-0) advances to the national final, where he will meet reigning four-time PIAA champion North Allegheny at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School. This is Parkland’s first appearance in the state championship since 2016; the Trojans have been knocked out in the semifinals over the past four years, with three of those losses against Bishop Shanahan.

“It’s amazing. We’ve been working all season for this,” said senior outside striker Brynn Dreisbach. “… We had to work really hard in training every day. If it was Bishop Shanahan , Unionville or whoever, we just knew we had to do our best.

“We’re always talking about playing for our alumni and seniors,” added second-year passer Maggie Smith. “It’s great to get past that point and break that streak.”

Parkland held a 2-1 advantage early in the fourth set, which was tied 9-9 after 18 points. Then the Trojans went on a 12-1 streak to get away with the contest. Junior Elena Pursell sandwiched two kills around a Dreisbach score, and Smith faked a set and slapped the ball to the ground to complete the push and push her team’s advantage to 21-10.

“All of our energy just added up and it was a peak performance,” said Pursell, a center hitter. “We all wanted to win so, so badly. We spent so much time working out in the gym. We knew we deserved it. We’ve come so far throughout the season, so we’ve got it all in place. “

Parkland coach Mike Krause said the team hit their stride after staff took a hands-off approach at the end of the game.

“We got to the point where we trained too much. So we backed off a bit, ”Krause said. “… Before the fourth set, we said, ‘You practiced. You worked hard. You have to trust your training. You guys manage it. You know what to do. We gave you what to do. You guys will understand from here. And boy, have they ever done it.

“It’s what you want this time of year. The seniors have taken the leadership.

The Trojans overcame adversity to win the third set. Pursell came off the ground with an injury after tripping under the net at the first point of the frame.

Parkland was not shaken, despite the loss of one of its primary weapons.

“(Junior Lucianna Shellock) slipped right away. They know and trust Lucy because of what she does in training. She’s a great kid. There is no fall, ”said Krause, who credited the team’s athletic coach for treating Pursell. “It would change our offensive decisions. We told Brynn she was going to see more bullets. She was going to make up for what Elena gets… I think these kids just know by practice that we can do whatever we have to do.

Dreisbach and Sydney Esquieres senior held the fort until Pursell came back halfway through the set.

“For me, there was no ‘what if’ option. I knew I had to get back on the pitch because our season was on the line in this game, ”said Pursell. “I knew I had to go back for my teammates. I had to fight the pain. It was worth it. The result, there is no better reward.

Pursell sealed the third with a tip to make it 25-23.

Dreisbach had 14 digs and Smith had 13 for the Trojans. Dreisbach added 31 serves received, and junior Scarlett Jago and senior Meredith Steirer registered 22 and 17 respectively, as the Parkland defense resisted the massive hitting range provided by Bishop Shanahan (21-4).

“As we got used to their serves we started passing the ball and that gave us an opportunity,” said Krause. “It really made a difference for us because their exteriors are so strong and they have such good ball control. They serve so aggressively; they are well trained; they play hard. Our children have withstood adversity.

Pursell had 21 kills, a high for the team. Dreisbach finished with 16 and Esquieres scored 13. Smith distributed 45 assists.

“You just have to think which hitters are good at the moment,” said Smith. “But really, anytime I can count on any hitter. It’s awesome. When I put them on, they hit the ball. I can trust them 100 percent.

Parkland, who is ranked No.1 in the state by the Pennsylvania Coaching Association, will now have his hands full with North Allegheny (19-1), who is ranked No.2 and has swept three of the last four finals.

“It was a dream for them to reach the national final,” said Krause. “We set up a schedule at the start of the year for our training and game schedule; it didn’t end until the national final.

“We’re not done yet,” Dreisbach said. “We still have one more game and we will start training tomorrow.”

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Kyle Craig can be reached at [email protected].

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