East Xtra: Greensburg CC earns No. 1 seed in WPIAL volleyball playoffs
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The Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball team has made two appearances in the WPIAL Class A title match since Heather Meyers took over as head coach in 2007.
Meyers led Greensburg Central to the title match in her first season, but the Centurions were swept by Seton-LaSalle. Two years later, the Centurions made a return trip to the finals, but dropped a four-set decision to West Shamokin.
"Winning a WPIAL title is one of the goals we set every season," Meyers said. "We've come close twice, but were not able to take that final step and win the title."
This could be the season Meyers and her Centurions reach that goal, as Greensburg Central Catholic is seeded No. 1 in the 20-team WPIAL Class A bracket. The Centurions entered the season as the WPIAL favorite and were ranked No. 1 all season.
"It's nice to be the favorite, but it doesn't mean anything," Meyers said. "Anything can happen on any given day. There are at least six teams that have a legitimate shot of winning it all. We have to play our best in every game of every match."
Greensburg Central won the Section 1-A title with a 12-0 record. No. 2 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, No. 3 Bishop Canevin and No. 4 West Shamokin round out the top four seeds.
"I've seen some of the teams [in the top 10], but I'm not really concerned about our opponents," Meyers said. "I'm more concerned about us. I know if we play up to our potential, we have the talent required [to be successful in the tournament]."
Greensburg Central's top player is arguably the best player in the WPIAL in Class A. Shannon Hurley, a 6-foot senior outside hitter, was voted first-team All-WPIAL Class A as a freshman and sophomore, but then missed last season with a knee injury.
"Shannon has accepted a Division I scholarship to Winthrop University in South Carolina," Meyers said. "She's the best player I've ever coached. It was difficult to play without her last year, especially because we had such a young quad. We had three freshmen playing key roles."
Hurley is one of three players in the Centurions starting rotation who are 6 feet or taller.
"I've never had a lineup this tall," Meyers said. "I'm not familiar with all the teams in Class A, but there can't be many or any who have three 6-footers."
The other two are 6-0 senior middle hitter Ashley Scalise and 6-1 sophomore setter/middle hitter Leah Bisignani.
"We have a very unusual setting alignment," said Meyers, referring to Bisignani and Emma Dickson, a 5-9 senior who doubles as a right-side hitter. "It's out of the ordinary to have one setter playing in the middle and the other playing on the right side [while in the front row]. We're using it out of necessity. We need both Leah and Emma hitting when they are in the front row."
Dickson has been a starter since her sophomore year. Bisignani started last year as a freshman.
Hurley, Scalise and the two setters are among eight returning letter-winners on the Centurions roster. The others are 5-2 senior libero Alexa Kacin, 5-3 senior defensive specialist Katie Hickey, 5-7 sophomore outside hitter Lauren Nolfi and 5-8 sophomore outside hitter Megan Stunja.
"Alexa is a three-year starter," Meyers said. "Lauren and Megan both started at outside hitter last year. Katie started in the back row."
Meyers has added two newcomers to the Colonials experienced lineup, 5-3 sophomore defensive/serving specialist Rachel Moore and 5-6 senior outside/middle hitter Angela Komoroski.
The Centurions attended four tournaments during the regular season and placed second in all four. They lost to Canon-McMillan in the finals of the Derry tournament, to Penn-Trafford in the final at the Penn-Trafford tournament, to Clarion in the West Shamokin tournament finals and to Norwin in the title match of Saturday's Norwin tournament.
"We faced Clarion at the West Shamokin tournament," said Meyers, referring to the fact that Clarion is No. 1 in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association state rankings, while Greensburg C.C. is No. 2. "We beat Clarion, 25-18, in pool play, then lost to them by the same score in the title game."
The WPIAL playoffs began Tuesday, but Greensburg Central doesn't play until 7:30 tonight. The Centurions play host to Northgate, which defeated Vincentian, 3-0, in a preliminary-round match.
"I'm pleasantly surprised to be hosting our first-round match," Meyers said. "Playing at home really helps."