Dig it: C-M volleyball finishes unbeaten in section
CANONSBURG – The Canon-McMillan volleyball team was trailing 20-18 in the fourth set of Thursday night’s section match against Peters Township when head coach Sheila Mitchell called a timeout.
While the Big Macs’ had the 2-1 lead in sets, a perfect record in Section 2-AAA was on the line and the Indians were quickly gaining momentum.
“I told them we had 14 points to go, the game is not over and they battled for those 14 points,” Mitchell said.
Behind the play of a strong senior class, the Big Macs rallied to defeat Peters Township, 3-1, and claimed the program’s first undefeated season in section play at 12-0.
Six seniors were recognized before the match and each of them played a pivotal role in the Big Macs’ win. Olivia Lorusso, who led the club in kills with 109 coming into the match, registered several pivotal kills, and Carrigan Robinson had eight aces, as the Big Macs head into the WPIAL playoffs.
“We are like one, big tightknit group,” Robinson said. “Three of my other seniors, I have been playing sports with them since I was in third grade, so the fact that I got to end my senior year with them is pretty awesome.”
Breanna Finley, Hunter Lawrence, Lorusso, Robinson, Maleia Ruane and Miranda Weston were the seniors honored before gametime. With a veteran lineup and a rival putting the team’s undefeated section record in jeapordy, the Big Macs rallied with 12 unanswered points in the fourth set. The Indians recorded two quick points to tie the game 22-22, but junior middle blocker Kathleen Davey blocked a Peters Township attempt and followed with a kill to clinch the victory for Canon-McMillan.
Before Thursday night’s match, Mitchell was in tears. After working with the six seniors day in and day out for months at a time, it was a bittersweet moment to see the girls prepare for their final regular season match.
“These girls have been together for a long time,” Mitchell said. “I have been with them for a long time. It means so much. They have done so, so well and they really pushed every point. I am just so proud of them.”
In a section that features strong opponents including the Indians, Upper St. Clair and Connellsville; the undefeated section record will put Canon-McMillan as a high seed. The Big Macs defeated Connellsville on the road earlier this week and swept a tough Peters Township team. The WPIAL playoffs commence next week after the committee meets Monday to announce pairings.
“Again, these girls are resilient,” Mitchell said. “I am hoping for a good seed. We have been up there all season and have been hanging with the big dogs all season in Triple-A. I really hope they see Canon-Mac as top dog, as well.”
The section title is the second in a row for Canon-McMillan. As a low seed in last year’s playoffs, the Big Macs lost in the first round to host Fox Chapel. With a vast majority of the roster returning in 2013, Robinson said the result will not be the same this time around.
“We learned that we were a bit intimidated because we were the under-seed, but this year we are on top,” Robinson said. “We are coming in with a little more confidence and more pow.”