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Bishop Shanahan Eagles
Greg Ashman
220 Woodbine Road
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
  My Site News: Bishop Shanahan spikes Unionville for league title  

Thursday, October 22
Bishop Shanahan spikes Unionville for league title

KENNETT SQUARE — In the world of art in Italy in the 13th century, the name Pisano immediately brought to mind master sculptors - classic artists such as Nicolo Pisano, Andrea Pisano and Giovanni Pisano.

In the world of volleyball in Chester County in 2009, the name Pisano brings to mind another artist - one who has the ability to sculpt masterpiece volleyball matches. That would be Katie Pisano, the ultra-talented setter of Bishop Shanahan's powerful volleyball team.

On Wednesday evening at Kennet High's gym, Pisano and her Eagle teammates produced another work of art when they stormed to a 3-0 win over Unionville in the 2009 Ches-Mont League championship match. Shanahan opened with a 25-11 win, took the second game 25-18 and finished it off with a 25-17 victory.

"Katie Pisano played a really smart game tonight," said Shanahan coach Greg Ashman, whose team is now 16-1. "She ran our offense really well. She passes so well and her sets are where they should be. She is the key to our offense."

Pisano said, "I think our hitters were just finding the court. Unionville was playing more to the line so we went to the middle. Our hitters were hitting really smart."

Shanahan finished atop the standings in the Ches-Mont League's large school division - the National Division - with a perfect slate. Unionville arrived as the champion of the American Division with just one loss in division play.

"Our goal tonight was to eliminate mental mistakes," said Ashman. 'We wanted to get back to good Shanahan volleyball - good serving, good passing and running the offense the way it should be run."

The Eagles had all facets of their game running smoothly. They passed intelligently and effectively. They flexed their muscles at the net with smart and forceful hitting from Maria Ficca, Emily Carlin, Susan Frick, Amanda Nickels and Nicole Lott. With libero Julie Joyce leading the way, they played their trademark style of rugged defense.

"We knew Unionville had a good season so we expected a tough match," said Joyce. "We knew we had to come out strong. They gave us a run for our money. We struggled a little at the beginning with our serve receive but then we settled down. We all played well tonight."

Unionville got more competitive as the match moved along. In the second game, the Indians trailed by just two points late in the game at 19-17 before a three-point service run by Joyce sent the Eagles on their way to the win,

The third game was even closer - for awhile. Midway through, Shanahan held a slim 14-13 lead. Kills by Ficca and Frick and four straight service points by Frick moved Shanahan close to match point before a tip for a point and a pair of kills by Carlin sealed the win.

"Shanahan is a team you need to play a couple times to catch up to their speed and athleticism," said Unionville coach Rob Conti-D'Antonio. "Even with a good scouting report, it's tough to go against them. This is one of the best teams from this area in a long time and, for whatever reason, we didn't come out and execute against them. I do think we competed very hard against them in the third game."

NOTES: Bishop Shanahan capped a perfect division season Tuesday with a 3-1 win over Downingtown East. ... Playing at home on Senior Night, the Eagles were paced by senior Clare Keating with nine kills, two aces and five digs. … Shanahan joined the Ches-Mont League in 2004 and has won a title every year since. … The Eagles started with four consecutive league titles and four straight undefeated seasons … Last year, they lost one division match and then defeated Avon Grove in a special playoff for the National Division title. ... Both Unionville and Shanahan will compete in the District 1 Class AAA playoffs starting next week.

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