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  My Site News: Bishop Shanahan tops Hempfield in Spartan Invitational final  
 

Monday, September 14
Bishop Shanahan tops Hempfield in Spartan Invitational final

KEVIN FREEMAN Sports Writer 

In a girls' volleyball tournament filled with teams that have designs on long postseason runs, it was Bishop Shanahan still standing at the end of a long, yet fruitful day at the Spartan Invitational at Garden Spot Saturday. Against Hempfield in the championship match, Shanahan used a 9-4 run midway through the first set in a best-of-three final match to grab a lead it wouldn't lose, winning 25-19. The Eagles beat back a Hempfield come-from-behind attempt in the second set but the their lead was too much of a hill to climb for Hempfield and Shanahan completed the sweep, 25-20. Garden Spot coach Denny Werner has put together one of the top-flight tournaments in the state. Of the 20 teams in Saturday's pool play, 10 were in the state playoffs last season and 19 went to their respective district tournaments. While Hempfield advanced to the title match, Garden Spot went to the semifinals where it bowed to Hempfield, 25-20, 25-17, in a match some were calling a Lancaster-Lebanon League final preview. Warwick was the third local team in the tournament and the Warriors couldn't get out of pool play and in to the quarterfinals. Warwick defeated Marian Catholic and State College but lost to Garden Spot, a semifinalist, and Shanahan, the tournament winner. Hempfield came through its four-match pool play round unscathed, sweeping Red Lion, Palmyra, Exeter and Pennsbury. The Black Knights then dispatched Seneca Valley, 25-13 in the quarters, before the win over Garden Spot. Play 0:00 / 0:44 Fullscreen Mute Share Hempfield battles Bishop Shanahan in final of Spartan Invitational. But Shanahan, which played in the District One Class AAA title match and went to the PIAA quarterfinals last season, proved a formidable opponent and had a lot to do with forcing the Black Knights into uncharacteristic errors. "At least we gave them a fight at the end,' said Hempfield coach Andrew Olree, who saw his team close a 22-13 deficit to 22-19 in the second set. "But in the whole match, we just passed poorly. If we can't pass to run our hitters with good sets, it's going to be tough. Particularly against a solid team.' Shanahan, located in Downingtown, defeated Marian Catholic, Warwick and State College and split with Garden Spot in pool play. It topped Palmyra in the quarters and Pope John Paul II in the semis. Eagles coach Greg Ashman said his team lost a match it probably shouldn't have last week, falling to West Chester Henderson. That loss fueled Shanahan's tournament run. "We needed that (loss),' he said. "Our goal (today) was to find who we are as a team.' Renee Shultz led the Eagles with five kills and an ace. Emma Short had four kills. Katrina Shelly had eight kills for the Black Knights in the title match. "I saw some things I liked, some things I didn't like,' said Olree, whose team plays Warwick on Tuesday. "That's why we play these tournaments, to see what needs to be done. We get great competition here and that's what these girls need.' Hempfield gets a shot at some payback when Shanahan comes to Hempfield for a nonleague match on Oct. 13. Spartans get to semifinals Garden Spot scored pool play victories over Marian Catholic, Warwick and State College and split with Shanahan. The Spartans then topped Berks Catholic in the quarters before falling to Hempfield. "I thought we played hard (against Hempfield),' Werner said. "We made some mistakes and you can't do that against them. I think we're definitely a lot closer to them than we've been.' As far as a takeaway, Werner said the tournament proved the Spartans are among the top teams in the state. "So, now, it's how good do we want to be?' he said. "You have to create the atmosphere in the gym to be successful. You have to make yourselves better each day.' Warwick wins pair of pool play matches Warwick coach Brad Glouner, whose team was playing in the tournament for the first time, said the field was so strong, he thought the Warriors could possibly lose every pool play game. So, to start by winning two matches (State College, Marian Catholic), he was thrilled. "Against Garden Spot, we played not to lose, which caused errors,' he said. "Garden Spot makes you beat them. They just keep the ball alive until you make mistakes.' While Saturday's play didn't punch any team's ticket to the state tournament, it gave each a chance to know where it stands. Looming for one of these teams may be a shot at a state title and a chance to take on Parkland, the defending PIAA AAA champs, which didn't lose much to graduation. "The state title is not given to anybody,' Ashman said. "The state title is Parkland's to lose and we want to be the one to take it from them, as does Hempfield and Garden Spot. Hopefully, we can stay healthy and the girls continue to have fun.'


   
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