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Get Directions to Bishop Shanahan EaglesDowningtown Local Weather
Bishop Shanahan Eagles
Greg Ashman
220 Woodbine Road
Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Thursday, January 1
Shanahan Volleyball

Parents, players and fans, welcome to the 2017 Shanahan Volleyball Season.

District 1

AAA Champions

’06 ’09 ’12 & ‘15

AAAA '16 &'17

Our goal is to pick up where we left off last year and compete at the highest level.  With all the new classifications and restructuring of the PIAA we have chosen to compete at the AAAA class this season.  Our goal this year will to win our second State Championship!! 

We also look to continue as the top team in the district and capture our 6th District title and capture our 11th Ches-Mont title.  I have put together the toughest schedule possible for this season including;

5 time State Champion Hempfield, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2006 & 2004 state Champion and 2011, 2014 & 2015 runner-up. 

We have also added two of the strongest teams in District 1 to our schedule; 

Garnet Valley (2016 AAAA State Champion) and Strath Haven. 

Volleyball is demanding physically, mentally and time consuming.  We expect that every player will remember that they are student-athletes and school comes first.  Everyone will be expected to stay on top of her schoolwork and not fall behind.  We don’t want volleyball to interfere with their studies, nor do we want them to be forced to choose between volleyball and studying. 

We are asking every player to make a commitment to becoming a better volleyball player and commit to challenging themselves every day at practice and in all matches.  We would also like every player make a commitment to themselves and the program that they are going to go the extra step in preparing themselves in the off season getting ready for the 2014 high school season.  Play lots of volleyball over the summer and go to camps/clinics and do workouts on your own or with a friend to be in shape and mentally ready to win our second State Championship!

This season all Ches-Mont matches will have the JV playing first(3:30 away & home) with the varsity to follow.


"Building Champions One Pass at a Time"



Wednesday, January 21
This weeks Schedule



Gold Medal Camp 2018

July 30th thrugh August 2nd 8:30am - 5:30pm

Deposits ($290) are due by 3-31-2018 for returning players.  Please make checks payable to Greg Ashman.

All incoming freshmen will be placed on a wait list and notified if accepted into this year's camp.


Tryouts begin August 13th at 9am! 

Check calendar for full schedule.



Friday, January 19
Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year!

Congrats to Renee Shultz, the 2017-18 Gatorade Pennsylvania Volleyball Player of the Year!  


Saturday, December 30
DLN ALL-AREA - Girls Volleyball First Team, Second Team & Honorable Mention

First Team 

Julia Gallagher, Jr., Bishop Shanahan
There were a handful of excellent defensive specialists (libero) in the area this season, and Gallagher may have been the best. She led the area with an astounding 625 digs, and added 59 assists and 23 aces. “Jules is one of the best liberos I have come across,” her coach Greg Ashman said. “She was fearless in tracking down and frustrating the opponent’s offense.” Gallagher was a first team All-Ches-Mont National selection and a PVCA All-State pick.

Tess Elder, Sr., Bishop Shanahan
The 5-foot-9 outside hitter played an ever-increasing role in helping the Eagles win the league and district crowns, and advance to the state final. Elder finished with 280 kills, and chipped in with 203 digs, 19 aces and 61 blocks. “Tess became a very big weapon as the season progressed,” Ashman said. “She also shut down our opponents’ best hitters.” Elder was a first team all-league and all-state selection.


Second Team

Julia Thomas, Jr., Bishop Shanahan

Natalie Ogden, Sr., Bishop Shanahan


Honorable Mention 

Michaela Develin, Bishop Shanahan

Brooke Burns, Bishop Shanahan 

Saturday, December 30
DLN ALL-AREA - Renee Shultz adjusts to new position, leads Bishop Shanahan to state final
Saturday, December 30
DLN ALL-AREA - Ashman usually has talent at Shanahan, but this year he led Eagles through adversity, too
Saturday, December 30
Pa. Volleyball Coaches Association All-State Teams
Saturday, December 30
Chemistry, depth helped Bishop Shanahan reach state final

By Jake Oswalt
For Digital First Media

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP >> It was a feeling the Bishop Shanahan volleyball program did not have to feel in a calendar year. The Eagles had just dropped their only match of the season to North Allegheny by a 25-21, 25-12, 25-16 tally on Saturday evening in the PIAA Class 4A championship game at Richland High School to finish the season with a 25-1 record.

After a few moments talking to loved ones on the floor, the players were able to hold their heads high on the walk back to the locker room. The Eagles endured and overcame injuries to Ceandra Ashman, Natalie Ogden and Cara Shultz, a member of last year’s all-state team, to navigate one of the toughest roads possible just to reach the state title game.

“I’m so unbelievably proud of this group of girls. We came so close over the course of this season and you can’t win them all,” said Bishop Shanahan senior setter Renee Shultz of the three-time District 1 champs. “I love these girls with all my heart and I’m so proud of what we accomplished. While I am sad the season’s over and it was my last year, I wish nothing but the best for the girls going on in the program. Hopefully they make it back here again.”

Shultz’s reflection became a prevailing theme after the disappointing loss. Bishop Shanahan, which was ranked No. 1 in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association throughout the season, knew they didn’t play up to the optimum level, but the Eagles were the first to compliment North Allegheny’s outstanding performance.

“I feel like they really caught us off guard by how scrappy they were and their refusal to let the ball drop. I think we have that same mentality but they just executed it better than us in these three sets,” Bishop Shanahan senior outside hitter Tessa Elder said.

A senior class consisting of Ashman, Elder, Breianna Mineweiser, Ogden, Renee Shultz, Kailey Smith and Kerrie Sullivan helped lead the Eagles past Parkland in the state semifinals. Shanahan had its season end with a loss to Parkland in 2016.

“Honestly this was the best season of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Elder said. “I’m so happy that we made it this far. It’s a bittersweet moment as a senior but it’s so inspiring to see how the underclassmen are going to use this and hopefully take this and win the whole thing next year.”

Underclassmen such as junior Julia Thomas were grateful to see first-hand how a senior class can help keep a team together through such hardships.

“I learned so much from the seniors. I learned about leadership and how to take over a game. I learned everything from them. I’m so proud of them,” Thomas said.

Throughout the season, members of the team showcased a selfless attitude and a knack to fill in admirably for players lost to injury. Renee Shultz, who provided 14 assists against North Allegheny, made a permanent switch to setter as Ashman was lost to severe migraines. Freshman Brooke Burns helped alleviate the pain of losing Cara Shultz to a stress fracture. Complementary players such as Mia Caporellie and Smith stepped into elevated roles seamlessly.

“The injuries were definitely tough to deal with. We lost one of our starting outsides the day before state playoffs began so that was really tough,” Elder said. “Our bench is so ready to just go in and play. We have such a strong bench, I think that’s what makes us such a good program is that anybody can be thrown into a position and do amazing.”

Coach Greg Ashman learned a lot about unproven varsity players thrown into the fire as needs arose throughout the season.

“We’re running with kids at the beginning of the season who weren’t part of the starting rotation. We had five injuries, four injuries to starters, to take kids away,” Ashman said. “Those are huge holes to fill and be able to run a season undefeated like we did. The kids who filled in just played phenomenal.”

Bishop Shanahan became a more galvanized unit as the injuries started to mount up.

“I’ve never played on a team that’s had so much chemistry. I also think that losing last year in the semifinals really stung. This year, we just knew that we wanted to be in this situation and we wanted to make it to the finals,” Elder said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t win, but I still think we had an amazing season.”

A strong core comprised of Burns, Caporellie, Grace Casagrande, Michaela Devlin, Julie Gallagher (15 digs against North Allegheny), Cara Shultz, Thomas and Alysa Wright will come back hungry for another shot at claiming Shanahan’s first state title since 2009.

“I just thought it was a really good experience to have,” Thomas said of playing on the state’s biggest stage. “I just thought our whole season was amazing. We can’t let this one game define us. This will definitely motivate us for next year.”

Saturday, December 30
Volleyball - Bishop Shanahan turned back in state final

By Jake Oswalt

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP >> Bishop Shanahan spent most of the year as the aggressor dictating play throughout its undefeated 25-0 season. The Eagles were riding high after defeating the third, fourth, and fifth-ranked teams in the state to continue its quest for the school’s first state title since 2009.

However, the tables were turned on No. 1 ranked Bishop Shanahan on Saturday evening in the PIAA Class 4A championship game at Richland High School in suburban Johnstown. District 7 champ and No. 2 ranked North Allegheny showcased a determined defense to go along with a dominant performance from its middle hitters to win a matchup of unbeaten teams by a 25-21, 25-12, 25-16 score.

“I can definitely say that they were the better team tonight. I was really impressed with how they played,” Bishop Shanahan senior setter Renee Shultz complimented North Allegheny (24-0). “They were strong.

“We fought, but I do think we could have played better. With the way things worked out, we just didn’t bring enough tonight. But I’m still proud of what we did and what we accomplished.”

After nine ties ensued in the first set, North Allegheny was able to progressively take more control of the match as the night progressed. The Tigers feasted on uncharacteristic mistakes from Bishop Shanahan.

“We had too many mistakes,” Bishop Shanahan coach Greg Ashman said. “We talked about it before we came out here. We said the team who makes more mistakes isn’t going to win tonight. We were that team unfortunately. We haven’t had a match like that where we made that many mistakes.

“They’re a great team. They forced us into a lot of uncomfortable situations.”

Middle hitters Kayla Dinkins, a Tulane signee, and Anna Sprys combined for 16 kills and six blocks for North Allegheny, who won its fourth state title and first since 1994.

“Number 32, she was absolutely insane,” Bishop Shanahan senior Tess Elder said of Dinkins, who had a profound impact on the game with six blocks while altering the Eagles’ offensive attack. “She would shut us down and it made it difficult to dig ourselves out of the hole that we were in.”

The night began looking as if a long match was going to be in the cards. After nine ties and three lead changes, the biggest lead was only three points. North Allegheny changed the trend with four straight points to break a 16-all tie. Dinkins provided a kill and two blocks during the key run. Kills from Avery Tuman and Sprys later pushed the lead to five before a Shanahan service error ended the first set at 25-21.

Bishop Shanahan overcame an early deficit in the second set thanks to a 4-0 run with Julie Gallagher serving. A Gallagher ace and two Tigers hitting errors gave the Eagles a 6-4 lead. Shanahan took its final lead of the set at 9-8. From there, it was all North Allegheny as they went on a colossal 12-1 run to lead 20-10.

“Our kids have played well all year, this was hands down the best they’ve played,” North Allegheny coach Heidi Miller said. “When we pass, we’re very hard to stop. But we struggled at times to be a good blocking team. We blocked very well tonight.”

A kill and block from Dinkins ended the set with NA prevailing, 25-12.

Four straight points allowed North Allegheny to take a 6-3 early lead, one they would not relinquish. With Shanahan’s defense fixated on slowing down Dinkins, other North Allegheny hitters capitalized on one-on-one matchups. Mika Logan led NA with nine kills.

“It was really tough from a blocking standpoint because I think that we were so worried about blocking 32 (Dinkins), that we would hesitate and their setter was so quick and we were late on the other blocks,” Elder said.

Shanahan was able to pull within 15-11 midway through the third on a Brooke Burns ace, but NA closed on a 10-5 surge to win gold.

Gallaher and Shultz (14 assists) led Shanahan with 15 and 13 digs, respectively. Elder and Kailey Smith both had four kills.

After the disappointing loss, the Eagles held their heads high once they reflected on a season filled with overcoming injuries to advance one step farther than last year.

“I just thought it was a really good experience to have. I just thought our whole season was amazing. We can’t let this one game define us,” Shanahan junior Julia Thomas said.

Wednesday, November 15
Bishop Shanahan’s Redemption Tour lands undefeated Eagles in state championship game

EXETER >> If one word could aptly describe Bishop Shanahan’s 2017 volleyball season, it would be redemption. And on Tuesday in the PIAA semifinals, the Eagles continued their season long theme with the ultimate redemptive effort by edging District 11 powerhouse Parkland, 3-2, to advance to the Class 4A final.

It’s important to note that Shanahan lost to the Trojans a year ago in the semifinals and on the same court at Exeter Township High School.

“This was the match we’ve been waiting for all season,” said Eagles’ head coach Greg Ashman.

“We wanted this one so bad because it was the same opponent and same place,” echoed junior middle blocker Julia Thomas.

After dubbing the season the “Redemption Tour 2017,” Shanahan edged Parkland 25-22, 20-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-11 to improve to 25-0. The three-time defending District 1 champs will take on District 7 champion North Allegheny in the state title match on Saturday at Richland High School in Johnstown.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, but it will,” said Ashman, who guided the Eagles to the state crown in 2009.

“We were hoping to get right back here, and I am so happy we were able to get it done,” said senior Renee Shultz. “Same place, same opponent, same round of the playoffs — it was déjà vu.

“But we aren’t done yet. This this is what (Redemption Tour) was all about.”

Between two of the state’s best programs, it was no surprise the match came down to a winner-take-all fifth game. Shanahan trailed 2-0 but with Shultz serving, the Eagles reeled off six points in a row, and never trailed again. Thomas had a block and a kill on the final two points as Shanahan prevailed 15-11.

“We knew what we had to do, we executed nicely, and powered through,” said Thomas, who finished with 15 kills and six blocks.

“We talked about going out and stepping on them fast,” added Shultz, who had 24 digs and 36 assists on the evening. “We played with the determination that we needed.”

Deadlocked at 1-1, game three was a turning point. It featured six early ties and several long rallies. But Shanahan outscored the Trojans 13-7 to end it, with Thomas delivering several big blocks and kills, and teammate Alysa Wright adding two late kills to finish it off, 25-20.

Facing elimination, Parkland (19-5 overall) played with urgency and reeled off 11 straight points in game four to take a commanding 13-2 lead, and the Eagles never recovered.

“I kind of threw the dice hoping to get a certain matchup in the fourth, and we didn’t get it,” Ashman explained. “So we had to substitute for (junior) Michaela Devlin. She wasn’t feeling well (Tuesday) night, but she went in and did what we needed her to do.”

Devlin is just the latest in a long line of injuries and illnesses which have sidelined starters Cara Shultz (stress fracture), Ceandra Ashman (migraines) and Natalie Ogden (ankle). But Shanahan has never allowed any misfortune to alter its goals.

“We have an amazing team chemistry that no one can break, and when we are on, nobody can stop us,” Thomas said.

“Every team faces challenges and ours always seems to be injuries,” added Renee Shultz. “But we are making the most of what we have and an amazing bunch of girls.”

Frequently plagued by slow starts, Shanahan reversed that trend in game one, scoring the first seven points off Shultz’s service. The middle block was so effective it forced Parkland to take an early timeout. The Trojans fought back — thanks to an 18-9 rally — to cut it to 21-20, but the Eagles called a timeout, and then held. Thomas and Kailey Smith had big kills to help close it out.

“We talked beforehand about jumping on them fast,” Ashman said. “We knew they would come back. Parkland is so scrappy defensively, we k new we would have to work very hard to get kills.”

Parkland never trailed in game two after opening a 6-2 lead. Shanahan fought back to cut the deficit to two on five occasions, but never got any closer.

Julie Gallagher added 29 digs and Wright chipped in seven kills and three blocks for the Eagles.

“The top of our warm-up shirts say ‘Redemption Tour’ and the bottom says ‘We’re on a Mission from God,’” Ashman pointed out. “There is a higher being controlling what is going on and its pushing us to the brink and throwing us curve balls left and right. But we are finding ways to get through it.”

Wednesday, November 15
Bishop Shanahan fighting through injury, illness to sit one step away from state final

The quest at Bishop Shanahan to capture the program’s first state volleyball crown since 2009 faces another serious hurdle on Tuesday at Exeter High School. The unbeaten Eagles take on powerhouse Parkland at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the PIAA 4A Championship.

“If we can minimize our mistakes and force (Parkland) to create a few more, I think it will go our way,” said Shanahan head coach Greg Ashman. “But if they can do the same to us, it’s going to be real tough.”

The two-time defending District 1 champs, the 24-0 Eagles are the odds-on favorites to capture the state title, but a rash of injuries and illnesses could jeopardize it all. All-State hitter Cara Shultz has missed most of the season with a stress fracture, and setter Ceandra Ashman has missed lots of action with migraine headaches.

And then, on Nov. 6th, starting outside hitter Natalie Ogden suffered an ankle injury and is also out. Needless to say, Shanahan’s depth has been severely tested.

“It certainly has,” Ashman agreed. “We decided to keep extra kids (on the roster) this season because we have seven seniors and we need to be ready for next year, and also in case of injuries. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t one of those teams that only has 12 players, and the next thing you know you have to put a 5-foot-4 kid in the front row because we have nobody else.

“I told the kids at the beginning of the season that we are fielding two teams this year and it’s going to be the two best teams in the state – the starters and the team that practices against them every day.”

That approach has worked so far. When Shultz was sidelined back in early September, freshman Brooke Burns filled in nicely. And Shultz’s older sister, Renee, has taken over the setting duties and has developed into one of the state’s best. And since Ogden went down, others have also picked up the slack.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries, and we’re hoping that the people that have been stepping up and filling those roles can continue to do so,” Ashman said. “Luckily, Kailey Smith has stepped into (Ogden’s) role — along with Mia Caporelli — and has played phenomenal.”

The District 11 champion, Parkland (19-4 overall) faced Shanahan twice during the regular season and the Eagles prevailed both times — first in the finals of the Garden Spot Tournament and later in the semifinals of the Parkland Invitational. But a year ago, Parkland topped Shanahan in the PIAA semis, also held at Exeter.

“(Parkland has) knocked us out three or four times in the last six-seven years,” Ashman pointed out. “They come to play, they know what it takes to win at this time of the year and they are extremely well coached.”

The winner will play the Garnet Valley-North Allegheny winner for the state crown on Nov. 18th at Richland High School in Johnstown.

The Eagles are the only unbeaten team in the field, but they’ve been tested throughout the postseason. Shanahan’s been pushed to four sets on three occasions: by the defending state champs from Garnet Valley in district action; by District 11 runner-up Nazareth in round one of states; and most recently in the quarterfinals by District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll.

“It’s tough playing with a big bulls-eye on your back,” Ashman acknowledged. “Everybody seems to bring their best against us, and in the playoffs we are facing much stiffer 

Monday, November 13
Shanahan digs out win against Carroll as redemption tour rolls on

FRANCONIA >> Archbishop Carroll would eventually get the point in the second set Saturday, but more important was the read that Bishop Shanahan had gleaned on its opponent’s attacking intentions.

Archbishop Carroll’s Audrey Jones goes up for the spike ahead of the block of Bishop Shanahan’s Michaela Devlin, 28, and Tess Elder, 12, during the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal Saturday at Souderton. Shanahan claimed a 3-1 win. (KIRK NEIDERMYER PA Prep Live)

Fourteen times the ball crossed the net in the middle of the second, finally ending in Carroll’s favor when Shanahan’s Renee Shultz buried an off-balanced attack into the net. But six times in the point, Carroll’s dynamic outside hitter Audrey Jones, who had wreaked havoc in a first-set win by the Patriots, saw swings dug by the Shanahan defense — twice by libero Julie Gallagher and a ludicrous four by Mia Caporellie.

Even if it didn’t yield an immediate payoff, the Shanahan defense was adapting to the Carroll attack. And with Jones neutralized, the District 1 champions had responded to the sternest test Carroll presented.

The defense spearheaded a 3-1 win for Shanahan over District 12 champion Carroll in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class 4A volleyball tournament at Souderton. Shanahan rallied from a 25-17 loss in the first set to take the next three, 25-21, 25-13 and 25-19.

“The first set, I think we definitely weren’t connecting and playing together as a team, but that second set, we knew what we had to do,” Gallagher said. “We knew we had to pick each other up, cross on our seams and not let any balls drop.”


The win lands Shanahan (24-0) in the semis against Parkland, which rallied from a set down to upend Exeter, 3-2, Saturday. It’s the second straight year the Eagles have eliminated Carroll (20-3) at this stage.

Bishop Shanahan’s Tess Elder gets some air for the hit during the PIAA Class 4A volleyball quarterfinals Against Archbishop Carroll. Elder led Shanahan with 13 kills in a 3-1 win. (KIRK NEIDERMYER PA Prep Live)

The attacking contrasts grew starker as the game progressed. Jones dominated the first game with nine kills on 17 errorless attempts, establishing to a Carroll team haunted by Shanahan in recent years that it could hang with the Eagles.

“It just means that we stuck right up there with them,” setter Morgan Silks said. “We played our game, and when Audrey swings like that, no one can stop us.”

Though Jones collected a match-high 21 kills, her influence waned, thanks to the Shanahan defense. At one juncture of the second set, around that marathon point, Jones had 10 straight attacks returned by Shanahan. With Jones and Paige Monastero (12 kills, 15 digs) offering Carroll’s only two outside hitting threats and the Patriots incurring a distinct height disadvantage in the middle, Carroll’s path to the floor was often blocked by a pair of active Shanahan hands.

“Carroll’s a very good team,” Gallagher said. “They’ve definitely improved since the last time we played them. But I think it mostly had to do with our side of the court and what we know how to do. We weren’t doing what we knew we had to do (in the first set), and I think we gained the confidence back on defense.”


Shanahan turned the tide on offense with its most unique weapon: Setter Schultz, who at 6-foot dwarfs most at the position. Her verticality opens windows for quick-strike kills in the attacking repertoire. She put away six to go with 40 assists and 10 digs, and the jarring change of pace preyed on a defense keying to deny Shanahan’s passel of outside threats.

“Today Carroll did a really good job of reading that and defending that, so I give them props for that,” Shultz said. “But usually when I find success in doing that, it builds momentum for the team and it’s something to change the pace, but in a way it’s using all of our options, using all of our weapons.”

“It’s something you’re going to make a mistake on defensively, the first time definitely,” Gallagher said with less modesty. “Good teams will read it, but she really changes it up, finds that open spot, and it really throws a team off.”

Tess Elder buried four of her team-high 13 kills in the second set, while Julia Thomas added four of her seven. Thomas tallied four blocks, while fellow middle block Michaela Devlin fired six kills, including the final two to close out the third set, with two blocks. Kailey Smith notched three of her 10 kills in the third set, and Brooke Burns turned in three big kills in the fourth, part of eight kills and 21 digs, illustrating the varied danger Shanahan presents.

“That’s definitely tough,” Silks said. “Everyone’s trying to be in base and be ready, but they just know where the seams are and how to get around us.”


Gallagher (22 digs) and Caporellie (15 digs) led the Shanahan back line.

Gina Custer came up with 17 digs for Carroll. Meghan McCann added 14, Morgan Silks 12 and Amelia Painter 10. Molly Masciantonio bashed six kills, including four in the fourth set to keep Shanahan in touch. Painter stemmed the tide of a Shanahan run that created an eight-point cushion, and Carroll broached as close as 17-14.

But for Carroll’s hopes of avenging last year’s states ouster and a regular-season loss this year, Shanahan has made the t-shirt-worthy theme of “Redemption Tour” into a mantra all season. And the Eagles are two wins away from a perfect ending to that quest, the next step a rematch against the team that bounced them last year.

“They definitely wanted revenge. They’re definitely an aggressive team,” Gallagher said of Carroll. “They don’t let balls drop, but I think that we just know that we’ve got to keep building. It’s ‘redemption tour’ for a reason. We have to gain that title back.”

Thursday, November 9
Shanahan stays perfect as it marches into quarterfinal date with Archbishop Carroll

WORCESTER >> If Bishop Shanahan’s undefeated, nationally ranked volleyball team doesn’t already know it has a target on its back, coach Greg Ashman is always right there to remind them.

“We talk about it at practice all the time,” Ashman said after Tuesday night’s opening-round victory over Nazareth. “Every team is going to play their best game against us.”

After the 25-14, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17 decision, the next “best shot” will come from District 12 champion Archbishop Carroll — an opponent quite familiar to the Eagles.

“We’ve seen them three times already this year,” said Ashman, “so we’re familiar with them. It’s hard to beat a team four times, but that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

Early on, it appeared the Eagles might cruise to the quarterfinals, as they dominated the first set and seized control of the second almost as quickly. But the third set saw an amazing seesaw battle where the two teams alternated points from 5-5 to 18-18, before Nazareth went on a stanza-deciding 5-0 run to extend the match.

For a while, it looked like the momentum had shifted, but with the fourth set knotted at 14, Shanahan ripped off eight of the next 10 points en route to ending Nazareth’s campaign at 19-8.

Kelly Austin and Maria Harding combined for 27 kills in the losing effort for Nazareth.

“Overall, I’m very proud of our team,” said Nazareth coach John Pursel. “It’s been a battle every time we stepped in the gym and tonight was certainly no different. At no point were we going to give up — and hopefully we represented ourselves well.”

Ashman and the Eagles certainly thought so.

“They play in a loaded league up there in the Lehigh Valley,” he said. “We knew tonight wasn’t going to be easy.”

It would’ve been significantly harder if not for senior Kailey Smith, who stepped in for injured outside hitter Natalie Ogden (sprained ankle) to the tune of 12 kills and four digs. Freshman Brooke Burns added 10 kills, an ace and 14 digs, while Tess Elder contributed 11 kills and five blocks.

“Whether I’m on the court or not, it’s important to stay involved, stay supportive. When it’s your turn, you’re ready to go. And I’m ready to put it all on the line,” said Smith.

It’s a good thing, because each of Shanahan’s opponents promises to do the same. The Eagles certainly aren’t backing down or shying away from such a challenge.

“Obviously you want to take it one game at a time,” Smith summarized, “but our ultimate goal is to win states. It’s been our goal for four years.”

Monday, November 6
Bishop Shanahan sweeps Upper Merion for District 1-4A title

UPPER DUBLIN >> Being the top-ranked girls volleyball team in Pennsylvania puts a bull’s-eye on Bishop Shanahan, giving extra motivation to each of its opponents.

That’s OK with the Eagles’ Tess Elder, though.

“There’s definitely a target on our back,” the Shanahan senior said. “Everyone wants to beat us, to take out the team that’s first in the state.

“But I think we just try to stay humble and play our Shanahan volleyball and not really worry about labels. We really just take one game at a time.”

The Eagles have been ranked No. 1 in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll since the preseason. Earlier this week, raised them to No. 10 in its national rankings.

Saturday night, they demonstrated why people in the know hold them in such high regard.

Top-seeded Shanahan faced a formidable challenge from second-seeded Upper Merion, the No. 4 team in the PVCA rankings, in the District 1 Class 4A title match at Upper Dublin. The Eagles, however, made surprisingly quick work of the Vikings in a 3-0 victory.

Game scores were 25-11, 25-8, 25-17.

The district crown was the Eagles’ third in a row and sixth overall.

“Thursday, we took the day off from practice and sat and watched (Upper Merion) film all day long,” Shanahan coach Greg Ashman said. “I made them do scouting reports so they can learn.

“This is one of the most intelligent teams I’ve had at Shanahan, and it shows. They did their own scouting reports. I collected them and told them it was a test. I picked them back up, looked at them, handed them back and said, ‘You’re studying them. It’s a test this Saturday.’

“I think they just got an ‘A’.”

Shanahan (22-0) still stands at the head of the class as it prepares to open play in the PIAA tournament Tuesday against District 11 runner-up Nazareth. The Eagles will enter as the favorite to capture their second state title in program history, and their first since 2009.

Upper Merion (22-2) also advanced to the state tournament and will play Tuesday against District 3 runner-up Exeter Township. This will be the Vikings’ first PIAA tournament appearance since 2014, although both Shanahan and UM will each be in the state playoffs for the 11th time overall.

“It happens sometimes,” Upper Merion coach Tony Funsten said of Shanahan’s domination Saturday night. “It doesn’t usually happen in the district final.

“They came out quickly and we never recovered. They were all over us in the first game and all over us the second game. We just couldn’t sustain it in the third game. We couldn’t stay with them. They were just playing so great.

“Volleyball is a game of errors. We made them, and they didn’t make many.”

Elder said Shanahan’s scouting report showed that Upper Merion’s strength was its outside hitting. The Eagles’ middle blockers neutralized that aspect of the Vikings’ game with their size advantage. Shanahan has six players on its roster that are 6 feet or taller, compared to none for the Vikings.

“(The Eagles were unstoppable) for us, playing as well as they were and serving as well as they were, because we’re not a big team,” Funsten said. “With a great setter getting the ball to the hitters, you’ve got to be able to put up a little bit better blocking. We can’t help that; we’re just not a big team and our blockers are younger.

“We just couldn’t slow them down in any way, shape or form. We’d get a couple of digs, but then they’d just come back and the next (hit) was just better than the one before.”

Upper Merion got 10 kills and 18 digs from senior Emma Andraka and 22 assists from Kelly Moore. Junior Tori Wright finished with seven kills, including the 1,000th of her career.

Shanahan took the first two sets easily, but Upper Merion fought particularly hard in the third to try to make a match of it. Three straight kills by Wright gave the Vikings a 13-11 lead. Shanahan, however, battled back to take a 15-14 lead that it never relinquished.

“We just played a really good game,” Shanahan senior Natalie Ogden said. “We were just so excited. We brought our energy up a lot and kept that energy for the whole match. It was just so much fun.

“Every game, we keep getting better, and we’re trying to go up (to a higher level) and keep getting better each game.”

Elder contributed 11 kills, 10 digs and two blocks for Shanahan. Senior setter Renee Shultz had three kills, 15 digs and 29 assists. Junior Julie Gallagher had 23 digs, and impressive freshman Brooke Burns had six kills, two aces and two blocks for the Eagles.

As Shanahan maintains the No. 1 state ranking and possibly moves up in the national rankings, Ashman said he believes his team has not peaked yet. The Eagles, he added, also have plenty of motivation.

“Last year, on the back of our warmup jerseys, we had a big, giant bull’s-eye,” Ashman said. “This year, I kid them that there isn’t a shirt big enough to put as big of a bull’s-eye as we have on it.

“Being the No. 1-ranked team all season long makes you play with that on your back. But, on the back of our shirts this year, it says, ‘Redemption Tour.’ So we’re playing with a chip on our shoulders because we dropped that (state semifinal) match (to Parkland) last year.

“They remember it day in and day out. They’re reminded of it all the time and they want nothing more than to take that state title.”

Thursday, November 2
Bishop Shanahan picks up style points, fourth straight district title berth

DOWNINGTOWN >> Greg Ashman’s gameday attire Wednesday night all but told the tale of the Bishop Shanahan girls volleyball team’s run so far this season.

Sporting a pair of flip-flops, khaki shorts and a hard-to-miss floral short-sleeve button-down shirt, all that was missing for the Eagles head coach was some sunglasses and an umbrella.

Ashman stood calmly along the sideline as his team downed Perkiomen Valley in 3-0 straight-sets to punch their ticket to a fourth straight District One Class 4A playoff championship game berth.

Bishop Shanahan Coach Greg Ashman looks on from the bench during Wednesday’s game. (Michael Reeves – For Digital First Media)

And while he won’t deem their fall run a vacation, Bishop Shanahan has hardly given Ashman a reason to break a sweat all year. The top-seeded and unbeaten Eagles improved to 21-0 on the season and will face No. 2-seeded Upper Merion — a 3-1 winner over Pennsbury — in Saturday’s championship game at Harriton High School. Perk Valley, the No. 5 seed, moves to 18-5 and will face No. 3 Pennsbury in the third-place game at a date and time still to be determined.

“Our whole expectation from preseason on has been to win a state title,” said Ashman, now in his 14th season with the program. “We’re not one of those teams that looks at it and says, ‘Hey, maybe we can make playoffs and qualify for states.’ We’ve got a much bigger picture in mind and we have for years.”

The Eagles have won the previous two district titles — a straight-set win over Plymouth-Whitemarsh last year to follow up a 3-1 win over Great Valley in 2015. Shanahan also finished runner-up to Upper Merion in 2014.

Bishop Shanahan’s Renee Shultz sets up a teammate during Wednesday’s game against Perkiomen Valley. (Michael Reeves – For Digital First Media)

“We try and keep a winning mentality with us day-in and day-out,” said Ashman. “We’re prepared for games like this on this level, mentally. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

The Eagles won the opening set 25-14 Wednesday night, benefitting from a 12-2 run midway through that featured three kills from senior outside-hitter Tess Elder. The Eagles then jumped out to a 13-2 lead early in the second set and survived a late push from Perk Valley to take a 25-20 win and then closed it out with a 25-17 win in the final set.

“They’re No. 1 in the district, No. 1 in the state for a reason,” said Perk Valley head coach Drew Scheeler of Shanahan. “They play great team defense — they don’t really have a weakness. At times we showed that we can hang with them, but it’s a consistency thing. Every play they’re on it.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Sarah Straub hits the ball over the net. (Michael Reeves – For Digital First Media)

Shanahan was consistent and mechanical any time the ball was in the air.

Senior outside-hitter Natalie Ogden had 12 kills, 21 digs and a pair of aces while junior libero Julie Gallagher had 18 digs and three aces. Senior setter Renee Shultz finished with 16 digs, 32 assists, three kills and an ace while Brooke Burns had 11 kills and 10 digs.

“We try and bring a lot of energy out here with us every night,” said Gallagher. “We’ve got a lot of pressure on us, especially being unbeaten this far on the season. We need to keep that out of our heads, though. We’ve got to respect every opponent we face.”

Although it finished out as a straight-set decision, Perk Valley proved to be a respectable opponent. The Vikings pushed back all throughout the night, though they simply didn’t have enough firepower to topple Shanahan.

Senior setter Ellie Min finished with 13 assists, 13 digs and two aces while senior outside-hitter Helena Clauhs had six kills and eight digs. Junior outside-hitter Sarah Straub had four kills.

Bishop Shanahan’s #12 Tess Elder and #15 Julia Thomas block a shot. (Michael Reeves – For Digital First Media)

With a state playoff berth — their first since 2015 — already under their belts, Scheeler has no doubt that his team will have no issue in bouncing back from the loss.

“We have great leadership — a great core group of juniors and seniors,” he said. “We’ve bounced back tough losses before. We bounced back when we lost in the PAC semifinals, when we lost to Spring-Ford in the regular season. This group is a resilient group. I’ll give them credit. We’ll be ready.”

And of course, Bishop Shanahan is ready to go for the three-peat.

Bishop Shanahan’s #15 Julia Thomas hits one over the net Wednesday. (Michael Reeves – For Digital First Media)

“It doesn’t really matter who we’re up against,” said Gallagher. “We’ve just got to go out there and play the way we know how to play.”

Surely, it’s no time for the Eagles to put their feet up and relax just yet.

Thursday, November 2
Bishop Shanahan tops Garnet Valley to advance to semfinals

DOWNINGTOWN – It’s a slogan that was unveiled prior to the volleyball season, and make no mistake: Bishop Shanahan’s ‘2017 Redemption Tour’ is all about winning the program’s first state crown since 2009.

But first thing’s first. The unbeaten Eagles have to maneuver through the District 1 4A Playoffs, and on Monday evening the defending state champs from Garnet Valley proved that the road ahead is anything but easy. Seeded eighth, the Jaguars pushed top-seeded Shanahan to the brink early before succumbing, 3-1. The scores were 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20.

“We knew (Garnet Valley) was going to come in here ready to play,” said Eagles’ head coach Greg Ashman. “We beat them earlier this season and they wanted to avenge that loss.

“But let’s face it, everyone wants to knock off Shanahan. We are aware of that and we try to get the girls mentally prepared for it. But there is a difference between talking about it and actually going out and doing it.”

The host Eagles (20-0 overall) are the defending district champs, but they got off to a slow start in each of the first three games before finishing strong. Shanahan advances to the semifinals where they will host fifth-seeded Perkiomen Valley on Wednesday.

“In a lot of our tougher matches this season we’ve started slow,” Ashman pointed out. “I guess we’d like to see how far we can bend before we break. But against good team, we can’t keep doing that.”

Now 15-5 overall, Garnet Valley drops into the playbacks round and will travel to No. 4 West Chester Henderson on Wednesday. In order to have a chance to defend the state crown the Jaguars need to finish among the top five in the district tournament, which means they must top the Knights.

“I thought we played hard in all four games,” said Garnet Valley head coach Mark Clark.

“I’m not happy with the outcome, but (Shanahan) is a big team and a very good team. We gave it everything we had.”

With ‘2017 Redemption Tour’ emblazoned on their warm-ups, the Eagles certainly remember last year’s exit in the semifinals of the PIAA State Tournament.

“I can say, as a senior and with so many seniors on this team, we want this so badly,” said outside hitter Tess Elder. “We want to finish our last game in high school with a win. Redemption has been our motto since day one.”

Ashman added: “It is message to remember what happened last year. We’ve been a high level team for a number of years and I want nothing more than for these girls to win (the state title) this year.”

In the regular season, Shanahan topped the Jags rather easily, but on Monday Garnet Valley opened a 12-7 lead in game one thanks to some effective serving by Rachel Cain. The Eagles never got closer than two the rest of the way and won it 25-20, going wire-to-wire.

“(Garnet Valley) kind of surprised us, to be honest,” Elder acknowledged. “We beat them in three earlier this season, so it was almost a wakeup call. No team is going to hand us anything and everybody wants to beat us. We just have to push harder to get it.”

There were eight ties in the pivotal second game, but Shanahan scored five of the last seven points to hang on. Natalie Ogden had back-to-back kills to make it 24-22, and teammate Michaela Devlin wrapped it up with a kill.

“A couple balls here or there. When it’s down to 21-21 and you are right there in the mix, you have to try to finish it there,” Clark said.

“That was huge. We lose that second game and we are really fighting for our lives at that point,” Ashman added.

“Our setter (Renee Shultz) really pulled us together, controlled the flow and she said, ‘we are not losing this,’” Elder recalled.

The reprieve bolstered the Eagles, who went on a 6-0 run in game three, turning a 14-13 battle into a more manageable 20-13. In that stretch, junior middle blocker Julia Thomas registered four of her team-high seven blocks.

In game four, the Jaguars scored five in a row with Emma Rokosky serving to knot it at 12-12. But Elder helped Shanahan to stage a 7-2 rally to make it 21-16 with two kills and an ace. Ogden and Devlin then closed it out with individual kills.

“We made some adjustments with our blocking in the second game, the girls started listening and it really showed,” Ashman said. “And by the third game we just blocked them to death.”

It’s important to note that Shanahan’s record in unblemished despite missing two standouts for most of the season. All-State hitter Cara Shultz has been out with a stress-fracture since week two and has yet to be cleared to play. And setter Ceandra Ashman has been day-to-day with migraine headaches.

“We’ve been missing those two for most of the season and we’ve learned to adjust,” Greg Ashman said. “We have a deep bench and on any given night we use different combinations.”

Elder led the way for the Eagles with 21 kills, 13 digs and four blocks. Renee Shultz (40 assists, three kills, 19 digs) and Julie Gallagher (19 digs) also contributed. Garnet Valley’s Rokosky and Erin Patterson had 21 and 17 kills, respectively, and Cain chipped in with 45 assists.

Thursday, November 9
Bishop Shanahan stays perfect, pulls away from West Chester Rustin in tough test

WESTTOWN >> Late in the third set, Bishop Shanahan led West Chester Rustin by a comfortable 15 points, then added another easy kill to seal a dominant 25-9 win.


However, just by looking at the faces of the Eagles’ players, you wouldn’t have known the momentum had swung and what once looked like a precarious battle with West Chester Rustin was one set away from victory.

There were a few smiles, a few high-fives, but there was mainly a focused look. A champion’s look. An “act like you’ve been there” look.

The Eagles’ championship demeanor carried into the final set and allowed Bishop Shanahan to beat Rustin 3-1 and claim the unofficial Ches-Mont League title Wednesday night in front of a raucous crowd at Rustin.

Both teams had already claimed their respective division titles.

“These girls are relentless in their work ethic,” said coach Greg Ashman. “We were in the gym yesterday and all they wanted to know was what do we need to do to win and to bring our 1th Ches-Mont championship back to our gym. They work hard. We had a team dinner scheduled after practice last night and they didn’t want to leave the gym. They want to put in the work rather than go have fun. That’s the culture we have developed in our gym.”

The battle of the unbeatens opened with the Golden Knights taking off their pink “Students Unite With Her” shirts and quickly taking a 2-0 lead in the first set. However, Rustin’s lead and Bishop Shanahan’s early game jitters would prove to be short-lived as the Eagles came back and eventually stretched their lead to six points.

Behind the play of Rustin’s Kaia Johnson and Ava Stasen, the Golden Knights came within two points, but could never regain the lead. The Eagles would ultimately go on to win the first set, 25-22.

The second set started off in much the same way. Both teams traded leads early in the set, Bishop Shanahan taking another six-point lead and the Golden Knights catching back up at the tail end of the set. However, this time Johnson and Stasen took it personally. Behind the serving of Stasen and the spiking and blocking of Johnson, Rustin overcame a seven-point deficit and spiked to a 25-23 victory.

“Losing that second set showed us that we had to step up our game,” said Julie Gallagher. “It showed us that Rustin was a really good team and that we need to be ready to play any team. I think we did a great job executing. After the second set we were definitely a little bit frustrated, but I think we used that frustration in a great way to really come back.”

“We knew what we were doing wrong,” said Renee Shultz. “We knew what we had to do better so we went into the third set with the mindset of let’s step up our game. Let’s do what we have to do and execute these points. We just had more fire going into the next set.”

The Eagles were on fire in the third set. Anything that Shanahan wanted to do worked and all Rustin could do was try to take the punches.

However, Rustin refuse to go down without a fight as the Golden Knights tried to force a fifth set, but after the Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 start in the fourth set, Shanahan stormed to a 25-15 win and a 3-1 victory.

“You see a match like this and that’s what they’re all about,” said Ashman. “Teams get things here and there on us, but they don’t break. They’ll bend a little bit, but they don’t break. We’ve been in some really tough matches this year and this is one of the tougher ones. Rustin is a good team. They’re going to go far in the district and I’m sure they’ll qualify for states. We’ll probably have to play them in district playoffs at some point.”

“I’m just so proud of our team,” said Shultz. “How hard we worked and the chemistry we had out on the court. I’m just proud that we showed up and did what we had to do. We love it when we have our student section and friends and family with us, the energy they bring us really helps and it showed today.”

Wednesday, September 27
Inside Out - Bishop Shanahan tops Carroll in game started outside, finished indoors

DOWNINGTOWN >> Bishop Shanahan and Archbishop Carroll seemed to be on their way to history Saturday night, as the two teams were participating in the first-ever outdoor volleyball match in Pennsylvania history.

But, with a large crowd on hand to watch the teams play at Jack Mancini Field, the two teams were forced indoors early in the third set due to a slick court that became a safety issue, according to the players and coaches.

“Safety was my first concern,” Shanahan head coach Greg Ashman said. “The court started getting bad and we decided we had to move it. I didn’t want to see someone get hurt on a dangerous court.”

“In the beginning of the match, the court seemed fine,” Eagles’ senior Renee Shultz added. “But by the time the coaches and officials decided to move the match indoors, I could definitely feel a difference and we were having a really hard time getting a grip.”

Archbishop Carroll’s Molly Masciantonio tries to tip the ball as Bishop Shanahan’s Michaela Devlin defends. (BARRY TAGLIEBER)

So inside they went. The teams, the coaches, and the legions of fans poured into Shanahan’s gym to watch the finish of a match that was tied at one-set apiece, with Archbishop Carroll leading the third set, 3-2.

Once inside, the Eagles decided to take care of business and protect their own floor, winning the third set 25-16 and, after playing a tight series of points, pulling away with a decisive 25-15 victory in the fourth set.

“We had our whole student section here and we had to defend our home court,” senior middle blocker Bre Mineweaser said. “We knew we had to take care of business tonight, we definitely couldn’t let [Carroll] come in and beat us in our gym.”

The Patriots gave the undefeated Eagles a bit of a scare early in the match, winning the first set and holding a 15-10 lead in the second set before Shanahan stormed back with a 13-0 run that helped them capture the second set and the swing momentum decidedly in their favor.

“They changed up their lineups a bit tonight,” Ashman said. “They did some things we hadn’t seen before and it took a little bit of adjusting. But once we got inside, I think our girls got more comfortable and settled into a groove.”

This was the third matchup between the Eagles and Patriots this season. The two teams played earlier this year in a pair of tournaments with Bishop Shanahan winning 2-0 in each of those games. Shanahan, who has won back-to-back district titles, now sits 19-0-1 after last night’s victory, while Carroll falls to 6-5-1.

“Playing outside was pretty crazy,” Shanahan senior Kailey Smith said. “The atmosphere was amazing and once we settled our nerves, it was a really great experience.”

Ashman first had the idea of hosting an outdoor match last season, but poor weather forced its cancellation. However, Ashman and a group of over two-dozen volunteers got together almost 12 hours before Saturday night’s contest to build the temporary court onto the football field.

“We were originally worried about the stability of the court,” Ashman explained. “But I give a lot of credit to the guys we had out there, they built something that could support a house. It’s a shame we were unable to keep the court dry.”

The court was placed on the near sideline of the football field and consisted of a sub-flooring made up of two-by-fours with a plastic-tiled “sport floor” placed on top as the playing surface.

Bishop Shanahan players get ready for Saturday’s game at Jack Mancini Field. (BARRY TAGLIEBER)

Moving forward, Ashman believes that the outdoor game is an event that could bring some excitement to his program, provided they can make the proper adjustments to ensure a safe playing surface. However, some of his players believe the novelty of an outdoor game doesn’t out-weigh the safety risks incurred by the players.

“It was definitely a cool experience playing outside,” defensive specialist Julie Gallagher said. “But for our safety I think we should stick to playing inside. Maybe we could have a scrimmage or something outside instead.”

Wednesday, October 11
Spikes Under the Lights Bishop Shanahan Volleyball

Tuesday, September 11
PVCA State Rankings

State Week 9 AAAA 2017


Previous Rank 
1 1 Bishop Shanahan 1
2 7 North Allegheny 2
3 3 Hempfield 3
4 11 Parkland 7
5 12 Archbishop Carroll 5
6 3 Exeter 6
7 7 Armstrong 10
8 11 Nazareth 8
9 11 Liberty 9
10 3 Cumberland Valley NR

Wednesday, January 4
Shanahan’s Shultz puts together dominant rookie season

DOWNINGTOWN >> In her first season of high school volleyball, Cara Shultz made such a big splash, she ...

Monday, November 14

Unbeaten Shanahan rolls into state semifinals behind Ashman, Shultz sisters

BRYN MAWR – Cara Shultz filled the stat sheet with 20 kills, 16 digs and seven aces to power unbeaten Bishop Shanahan to a 3-0 conquest of previously unbeaten Archbishop Carroll in the PIAA-AAAA quarterfinals Saturday at Harriton.

The victory sends the Eagles (23-0), who prevailed by scores of 27-25, 25-14, 26-24, into a state semifinal showdown with defending PIAA 3A champion Parkland Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.

Other key contributors for Shanahan were Renee Shultz (12 kills, 28 assists, 13 digs) and Ceandra Ashman (16 assists, 2 aces, 8 digs).

“It’s just another challenge,” Shanahan coach Greg Ashman said of the semifinal matchup with Parkland in the Daily Local News. “We beat the third-ranked team in the state in Carroll, now we have to face No. 2. There’s no easy road.”

Shanahan is currently ranked No. 1 in the state in the PA Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

Monday, November 14
Shultz sisters lead gritty Shanahan to state quarterfinals

FORT WASHINGTON – Bishop Shanahan has been on cruise control most of the season en route to a perfect record and the District 1-AAAA and Ches-Mont League National Division championships.

But the unbeaten Eagles (22-0) were forced to take a much different route to the PIAA 4A quarterfinals Tuesday night at Upper Dublin, coming from behind to top District 11 runnerup Liberty 3-1 (19-25, 25-15, 26-24, 25-16) in the opening round of the state tournament.

Cara Shultz (14 kills, 11 digs, 3 aces), Renee Shultz (16 assists, 8 kills, ace) and Jenna Losito (15 digs, 2 aces) keyed the comeback for the Eagles, who move on to face unbeaten Archbishop Carroll (23-0) in the Elite Eight Saturday (time, site TBD).

After dropping the opening set 25-19, Shanahan used a 7-0 run to pull away from a 12-12 standoff in Game 2, then overcame an 18-13 deficit in Game 3 as Cara Shultz delivered a three-point service run and Renee Shultz provided a clinching kill to close out a narrow 26-24 victory.

Game 4 featured another strong finish as Shanahan emerged from a 12-12 tie with a closing run of 13-4, Losito’s ace sealing the deal in the 26-16 win.

Sunday, November 6
Bishop Shanahan sweeps Plymouth Whitemarsh to win District 1-AAAA title

Bishop Shanahan sweeps Plymouth Whitemarsh to win District 1-AAAA title


UPPER DUBLIN >> Saturday afternoon’s District 1-AAAA  girls volleyball championship game featured a pair of heavyweights doing battle as the No.1 seed Bishop Shanahan (13-0 Ches-Mont) and no.2 seed Plymouth Whitemarsh (18-0 Suburban One League Continental) squared off.

“I think it’s a tribute to the system that we got running that we get the No. 1 and No.2 team in the last two years in the finals,” Shanahan coach Greg Ashman said. “This year, to have a team 25-0 and a team 21-0 to represent this, I think it’s the most exciting thing you can have.”

Simply put PW played well, just not well enough to win the match as Shanahan, which claimed the district title with a 3-0 (26-24,25-21,25-10) straight-sets win.

“I am completely happy with the way they played. They played really, really well,” PW coach Seely Byler said. “They played really well they just came across a team who is excellent.”

The Colonials made great defensive plays all game as the work for their back line was definitely cut out with the powerful and skillful hitters of Shanahan. The size of the Eagles also made it difficult for the hitters of PW to hit through or around the Eagle block.

“We did our best to line out block up against their really strong outsides and do what we could in the back row and I think my girls played awesome,” Byler said.

The match swung in the second set as Shanahan trailed 15-12 but a 6-1 run from the Eagles allowed them to recapture the lead and never looked back. Shanahan closed the second set out on a 13-6 run, giving it a two sets to none lead and momentum heading into the third set.

“I knew once we came back in that second set even if it did go four or even five that we had the confidence and the jitters were all out of us that we were going to be able to do things,” Ashman said.

Shanahan will have a tough draw in the first round of the PIAA playoffs as it takes on one of the top ranked teams in the state in Liberty. While the matchup is unfavorable, the Eagles enter states with immense confidence as they blew through the district playoffs without dropping a set.

“We’ve only dropped three sets all season,” Ashman said. “We haven’t dropped a set in October or November yet.”

“We’re capable of anything and the last few weeks have proven that. We got a tough draw right out of the gate; we play the no.1 team in the state on Tuesday night we play Liberty. That’s a match equivalent to a state final, we have to play them in the first round, and hopefully we can do the same thing over again.”

For the district runner-up Colonials the loss will not shake their confidence as they know they lost to a high caliber team and also knows it’s capable of playing with any team.

“We’re trying to just build on the momentum,” Byler said. “They played a great match tonight so we’re just going to use that going into states. We played a really defensive game and I’m so happy with how they played so we’re going to use that against whoever we see on Tuesday.” 

Sunday, November 6
Shanahan tops Whippets, advances to district final


DOWNINGTOWN – It was one of those rare instances in athletics when the head coaches from both sides came away feeling pretty darn good.

Of course, Bishop Shanahan’s Greg Ashman was thrilled that his top-ranked volleyball squad advanced to its third straight District 1 Class AAAA final with a 3-0 triumph over visiting Downingtown West on Thursday evening. But David Parrish, who guided the Whippets to their first district semifinal ever, was a bit giddy with just how difficult his fourth-seeded squad made it for the favored Eagles.

“That was probably the biggest test we’ve had this year,” Ashman admitted. “Previously, we haven’t had to play really well to win, but tonight Downingtown West made us play.

“They were phenomenal. They played a lot better than I anticipated.”

In a complete departure from a previous regular season clash 28 days earlier, these two crosstown rivals battled for three close, contested sets. The Whippets were in each one, but the unbeaten Eagles managed to put on a spurt at end of each set to ultimately prevail, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23.

“We made (Shanahan) work hard for it,” Parrish said. “I’m not sure many people believed we are this good. Maybe tonight, we showed some people some things.”

Now 21-0 overall, Shanahan will play second-seeded Plymouth Whitemarsh for the district crown on Saturday, 6 p.m., at Upper Dublin High School. The Eagles have already made five District 1 final appearances under Ashman, and have taken home four titles, including the 2015 crown.

“We knew (Downingtown West) would come out fighting,” said Shanahan’s super freshman Cara Shultz.

“This was absolutely the best thing we couldn’t ask for: to be challenged,” Ashman added.

“West was able to compete with us at the net, which a lot of people haven’t been able to do because of our size and power. They made our hitters and setters think more.”

The Whippets fall to 17-3 overall, and will play sixth-seeded Council Rock North in the third-place match on Saturday. Downingtown West has already punched its ticket to the state tournament.

“I am very proud of the way my girls played,” Parrish said. “We basically lost by a nine or 10 point margin (in each set) the first time we played. This time we closed that margin. We are a much better team than we were a month ago.”

The Whippets served notice in the opening set that the second time around wasn’t going to be anything like the first. There were 13 ties in all, the last coming at 23-23. Bishop Shanahan, however, closed it out by forcing West into making errors on the last two points.

Set No. 2 was tied at 15-all when the Eagles went on a 7-0 run that started with back-to-back blocks by Renee Shultz and Michaela Devlin. The Whippets fought hard to stay in it, but Shanahan got late kills from Cara and Renee Shultz to make it 2-0.

“In between the second and third set, I told our kids ‘it’s not over yet. You have to be prepared to go five. These guys are going to come back,’” Ashman recalled.

And West did, roaring out to a 15-11 lead. But that’s when the Eagles staged an 8-0 surge, on the strength of two service aces from junior Ceandra Ashman and a couple blocks from Devlin.

“Ceandra had been struggling with her serve. It seemed like it was either an ace or an error,” said her father and coach. “But she did phenomenal. I’m proud of her.” 

The Whippets made one last stand to regain the lead at 23-22, but Shanahan scored the final three points. Renee Shultz delivered a kill and an ace, and Alexa Marcum registered a kill on match-point.

“We are still coming together as a team and figuring it out,” said Ceandra Ashman, who finished with 18 assists.

“This match was good for us. (Shanahan) gave is a better match this time, and that’s good because it showed us how good we can be if we push ourselves.”

Downingtown West got 11 kills from Aly Reardon, six kills apiece from Sophie Gelling and Kenzie Pincura, and 17 digs from Regina Schetroma.

“(Bishop Shanahan) served us very tough in a couple rotations, and we got stuck there,” Parrish explained. “The last two (sets), the difference was that one rotation.

“We had our chances, and when you get close like that, you have to take advantage. Hopefully we’ll learn from this.”

Cara Shultz led the way for the Eagles with 17 kills, including five in the deciding set. Marcum added nine kills and Renee Shultz notched four of her seven kills in the third.

“To beat a team like (West) 3-0 is huge,” Cara Shultz said.

“From here on, every match is going to get harder and harder. If we are going to go ahead and win districts and eventually states, we are going to have to play our very best.”

Ashman setting one of her 18 assists

Wednesday, September 21
Shanahan makes quick work of Unionville, stays perfect in Ches-Mont

DOWNINGTOWN >> Bishop Shanahan was not messing around Tuesday, and Unionville was on the receiving end.

The Eagles wasted no time in adding to their already perfect Ches-Mont League record with a straight-sets win over Unionville, 25-9, 25-12, 25-12, staying on top of the league with a 4-0 mark.


“We definitely came out strong especially after our tournament this past weekend,” said Bishop Shanahan outside hitter Alexa Marcum. “We didn’t let up at all. We came up against a team that has a lot of good hitters and we played defense and did a great job.”

Marcum was the most prolific server Tuesday to go along with her nine digs. Marcum’s serves often put Unionville in bad positions for returns.

“Unionville is supposed to be one of the teams that will be challenging for the league title,” said Bishop Shanahan head coach Greg Ashman. “They are facing some injuries and sickness today which hurts. But they put up a good fight.”

The Eagles were able to establish leads early in all three sets, and at that point, and it was too much for Unionville to overcome.

“We’ve got to keep trying hard,” said Unionville head coach Clee Brun. “Obviously Shanahan is a top team in the state but we want to be there too. And I think we can be there. I think we are that competitive and have the talent. But we have areas that need growth. By the end of the season, we will be able to match up against teams like this.”

A big part of what made Shanahan successful came from the impact of their setters.

“I love that the setters kept our hitters in rhythm today,” Ashman said. “We ran our middles a lot which is what we were trying to get more established. Our passing was really good tonight and coming off our tournament this past weekend playing some of the top teams in the state helped prepare us for our league.”

Renee Shultz and Ceandra Ashman were instrumental in setting up the Eagles’ hitters, combining for 21 out of the team’s 24 assists. Shultz had 10 assists and Ashman led the team with 11.

Ashman said getting the three-set win was especially important because the Eagles are focused on defending their home court.

Cara Shultz led the team in kills with 13 in 30 attempts to go along with six digs.

Even though Unionville lost, Brun is still optimistic the Indians can contend in their division.

“Realistically I think we are a top four or five team as a whole in the Ches-Mont,” Brun said. “I would be very surprised if we do not make district playoffs and think we would like to go a couple of rounds in. Depending on the growth during the season and hopefully, we see Bishop Shanahan again.”

Alli Lowe led Unionville with eight kills and 11 digs.

Bishop Shanahan will puts its perfect Ches-Mont record on the line Thursday against West Chester East.

“I don’t know what to expect from East,” Ashman said. “I haven’t heard anything about them other than they have a couple of wins. We’ll find out soon enough.”

Wednesday, August 10
Threats, Bullying, Intimidation, Hazing and/or Initiation Ceremonies

 Threats, Bullying, Intimidation, Hazing and/or Initiation Ceremonies The Office of Catholic Education, the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors firmly believe that students must be protected from threats, bullying, intimidation, hazing and/or initiation ceremonies. All verbal, written, electronic and physical conduct that harasses, humiliates, or persecutes students, or disrupts or interferes with any student’s curricular or extracurricular experiences will not be tolerated. This policy applies to hazing behavior that occurs on or off school property and before, during and after school hours.

No coach, sponsor, volunteer or diocesan employee shall plan, permit, direct, assist or engage, condone or tolerate any of the above stated activities.

Any apparent permission or consent by a person being hazed does not lessen the prohibitions contained in this policy. Any student found, after investigation, to have engaged in any forms of this misconduct would be subject to disciplinary actions as defined by the member schools.

Furthermore, any coach and/or student who witnesses or has knowledge of such misconduct activities and fails to report such actions will also be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions as defined by the member schools.

Wednesday, January 4
Volleyball 1st, 2nd & honorable mention

Firts Team

Renee Shultz, Bishop Shanahan A junior, Shultz was the most versatile performer on the area’s top team. An All-League, All-District and All-State selection, Shultz led the Eagles in digs (281) and assists (448), and chipped in with 166 kills and 62 aces. “Renee has so much talent, we tried not to pigeon-hole her,” Ashman said. “She could be a setter in most programs and do a good job with it. But she is so valuable as a hitter, we didn’t want to waste that.”

Alexa Marcum, Bishop Shanahan A first teamer on the All-Ches-Mont team, the senior hitter amassed 153 kills, served up 43 aces, scored 224 points on her serve and added 193 digs. But more importantly, Marcum was a valuable leader for Shanahan, who went 24-1 and captured the District 1 crown. “Alexa was our MVP,” Ashman said. “She has great talent and is so good with her teammates. We noticed when we took her off the court, the team didn’t have the same cohesion.”

Second team

Jenna Losito, Bishop Shanahan, Sr., libero

Honorable Mention

Alysa Wright, Bishop Shanahan

Sunday, November 8
Shultz’s triple-double leads Shanahan past Great Valley for district crown

LOWER MERION – Renee Shultz recorded a triple-double with 10 kills, 22 assists and 11 digs as top-seeded Bishop Shanahan earned the District 1-AAA girls volleyball title with a 3-1 victory over (2) Great Valley Saturday at Harriton.

One year after dropping the district final to Upper Merion 3-1, the Eagles (16-2) gained their first district championship since 2012 by prevailing 25-22, 25-12, 23-25 and 25-15. Chloee Kleespies (17 kills), Alexa Marcum (8 kills), Michaela Devlin (7 kills) and Marissa Hoertz were forces at the net for Shanahan, which also got 36 digs from Gina Lewis and 13 digs from Jenna Losito.

For the Patriots, who were making the first district final appearance in program history, Aimee Christen had 15 kills, Abby Daniels posted 11 kills and Kenzie Farrelly contributed solid overall play.

In the opening round of states Tuesday, Shanahan returns to Harriton for a 7 p.m. date with (District 3, No. 3) Cumberland Valley while Great Valley faces (12-1) Cardinal O’Hara at High School of the Future in Philadelphia at 5 p.m.

Monday, November 16
No. 1 Bishop Shanahan beats Perkiomen Valley, reaches 1-AAA final
Sunday, November 8
Bishop Shanahan, Great Valley advance to district final

FORT WASHINGTON – Bishop Shanahan validated its standing as the No. 1 ranked girls volleyball team in District 1-AAA Thursday night with a hard-earned 3-1 victory (25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16) over fourth-seeded Perkiomen Valley at Upper Dublin.

Sophomore Renee Shultz led the way with a triple-double, delivering 14 kills, 26 assists and 10 digs. Also for the Eagles (29-3-1), who will meet Ches-Mont rival (2) Great Valley in the district final Saturday at Harriton (4:30 p.m.), junior Chloee Kleespies (14 kills), freshman Michaela Devlin (10 kills, 3 blocks) and senior Gina Lewis (28 digs) had strong showings. “This should have been the finals,” said Bishop Shanahan coach Greg Ashman on “We saw the draw and thought that Perk Valley was the team to beat with their size and the way they battle at the net.”

Cayla Veverka (23 kills, 13 digs), Helena Clauhs (11 kills, 3 aces), Emily Oltman (9 kills), Adrianna Lattanzi (17 digs) and Ellie Min (56 assists, 14 digs) contributed outstanding efforts for the Vikings (19-2), who will face Penncrest Saturday at Harriton (3 p.m.) for third-place in the district. Perk Valley has already locked up the program’s first state playoff berth.

“We knew about them coming in,” said PV coach Drew Scheeler of the Eagles, ranked second in the state in one poll. “The first three games were close and could have gone either way. Give credit to Bishop Shanahan. They kept battling. But I am happy with my girls. They battled the entire game. They played well.”

(2) Great Valley 3, (6) Penncrest 0 – The Patriots earned a rematch with Shanahan in the district final after topping the Lions 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 in the other semifinal Thursday at Upper Dublin. 

Monday, November 16
Upper Merion falls to No. 1 seed Bishop Shanahan

DOWNINGTOWN >> All season long the Upper Merion High girls ...

Monday, November 16
Top-seeded Shanahan settles score with Henderson

DOWNINGTOWN – Revenge was sweet for top-seeded Bishop Shanahan Thursday ...

Monday, November 16
Bishop Shanahan clinches Ches-Mont National behind Kleepsies, Shultz, Marcum
DOWNINGTOWN – Bishop Shanahan clinched the Ches-Mont League National title by sweeping Unionville 3-0 (25-8, ...

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 ...

Wednesday, November 5
Upper Merion defeats Bishop Shanahan 3-1 in highly-anticipated District One final

Wednesday, November 5


Posted:   10/30/2014 10:00:56 PM EDT



ABINGTON — Ask Megan Keefe as a freshman or a sophomore if she would have been OK playing the third place game in the District 1-AAA tournament and she would have said absolutely. A spot in states secured and at least a top for finish in the district for the Pennridge girls volleyball team was far from a reality a few years ago.

But as a senior, with this team, a 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-13) sweep at the hands of Bishop Shanahan in the semifinals was just not what Keefe could smile about. It was Keefe and the Rams' first loss of the season, a match shy of the title game, two wins shy of the program's first district championship in almost 40 years.

"We did not come out strong and it was not a good start overall,' Keefe said. "We never expected to make it this far and we are happy we did. Tonight was not our best effort and it's disappointing we lost.'

The Rams (18-1) rolled into the playoffs without a blemish on their record, but the Eagles' 17-4 mark was not too shabby and the fifth-seeded side brought playoff experience — finishing third last year in in districts — to the Abington court Thursday. The Rams have rallied back from slow starts all season, but a 12-1 run in Game One set the tone for the night.

"Game One they wanted more than we did,' Rams coach Zech States said. "They are experienced and we are not used to this at all. That's what it came down to. That played a factor, but it's not excuse.'

The Rams play Garnet Valley — which lost 3-1 to Upper Merion in the other semi — for third place noon Saturday back at Abington. They will try and rally back for a strong and long run in the PIAA tournament. Upper Merion, defending district champs, will do battle with the Eagles at 2 p.m. after the Rams and Jaguars jostle.

"It is good to have states to look forward to,' States said. "We have one day here to practice and we have to use it. Garnet Valley is going to want it and we have to come ready to battle.'

The Rams will need to find the offense that disappeared against the Eagles. Their swings seemed telegraphed and Shanahan made the consistent back row pass to their setter, who found any number of their powerful hitters. It was 4-0 and 9-2 Eagles in Game Two, which completely zapped the Rams' confidence. The Eagles were an opponent they could not solve for the first time all season.

"We did not play nearly close to what we are capable of,' States said. "They put a big block up. We could not get our middles going (four total kills) at all tonight, It's hard because I know what they are capable of. and I was not able to get them motivated to play the way they should.

Keefe, Pennridge's four-year starter at setter, won 17 games (23 losses) in her first three seasons with the Rams — three as freshman, four as sophomore, and 10 as a junior. The Rams continued to get better and nothing can take away the season they put together so far. So far being the key words. A District 1 championship would have been nice, but they will refocus and come back stronger in the state tournament next week,

"We came out with a lot of nerves,' Keefe said. "We need to do everything a little better.'

Monday, June 9
Titus Sports Academy


Tuesday, November 6
Shanahan wins Third District title!

Eagles sweep way to district crown


Sunday, November 15

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YORK — There were over three years of playing volleyball together pointing to this - more than 1,000 hours of time in a gym whacking away at a round white ball leading up to this - a full season of focused dedication and hard work culminating in this.

At 6:39 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Central York High's gymnasium, Bishop Shanahan setter Katie Pisano's serve dropped to the floor on Allentown Central Catholic's side of the net and the match was over. Bishop Shanahan had won the PIAA Class AAA Girls Volleyball championship.

The Eagles proved that they had the best team in the state - something they had known since back in August - by defeating Allentown Central Catholic 3-0. They accomplished the feat by playing 75 points of "Shanahan Volleyball."

Shanahan held off a late-game surge by the Vikettes to take the opening game of the best-of-five 25-23. The Eagles continued their strong play in the second game and posted a 25-17 victory. They were even more dominant in the third game and finished with a convincing 25-13 win.

It was supposed to be a state championship volleyball match. Instead, it was more like a Shanahan "Block Party" featuring Amanda Nickels, Maria Ficca, Susan Frick, Nicole Lott, Katie Pisano and Emily Carlin. Nickels led the way with 10 blocks followed by Ficca with nine and Lott with eight. The others all contributed blocks at key times throughout the state title match.

"We knew blocking would be the key - that as long as we got touches on the ball, it would be great," said Shanahan coach Greg Ashman. "And with the lineup we have, if they started shutting down any of our girls, we just move it around."

Pisano said, "I thought this match would come to five games. But once we got going, we didn't have any slumps. Our middle blockers were blocking so well and Nicole (Lott) did awesome."

The third game was competitive early in its early stages and still close at 8-8. A four-point service run by Ficca followed by a five-point run by Nickels put the Vikettes on the ropes. Pisano started her serve with Shanahan ahead 20-13, served four straight points and then delivered the message-sending, match-ending, head-spinning,

title-winning ace.

In the first two games, Shanahan held the lead for the majority of the time but ACC was always right there. But, almost every time the Vikettes threatened to snatch the lead or the momentum, they were put in their place by a decisive kill by either Ficca or Carlin.

"Before the match, Maria and I both said - this is it…this is our game…we are in control," said Carlin.

Ficca said, "Me and Emily - this was our match. There was no way we were going to let it slip away after getting this far. We came out so strong tonight. It was great."

Allentown Central Catholic coach Laurie Corcoran said, "Shanahan definitely outplayed us. They came at us really strong with their attack and had the momentum the entire match. I'm proud of our girls. We've accomplished a lot. This year's seniors have two state gold medals and two silver medals. But, Shanahan was the better team tonight."

In the morning semifinals, ACC defeated Hempfield 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 24-26, 16-14). In the other semifinal, a showdown between the teams ranked first and second in the state, Shanahan knocked off top-ranked Mount Lebanon 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-18).

"We came out slow in the first game," said Shanahan libero Julie Joyce. "Our passing wasn't where it should have been. Our whole offense was sloppy. In the second game, we picked up our passing. We were able to put the passes on Katie's forehead and run our offense really fast. In the third game, once we got our offense going and started playing 'Shanahan Volleyball', we had things under control."

Nickels said, "Mount Lebanon really reminded us of us. We play a very similar style. So, they did the same things we do and that made them really easy to read. And, we knew their middle hitter (Olivia Gratton) hurt her ankle Friday and was playing injured. We went after her because we knew she was weak."

Mount Lebanon coach Dawn Begor said, "Olivia bring hurt changed our team a bit. We had to run a different offense. Our options were limited so we became very predictable. We lost to a very good team. Shanahan is big and strong - like a lot of teams out west."

Carlin said, "We wanted it so much and we played with so much heart. We came out really strong and stayed strong. Everyone was on -- no one was off. The whole team played great."

NOTES: Carlin was named the MVP of this year's state championship tournament and Joyce was selected as the defensive MVP…Ficca and Pisano were named to the All-Tournament Team….The Eagles' history-making state championship roster also included Cait Watson, Allison Lott, Kristina Dale, Kelly Hutchison, Clare Keating, Summer Jaros, Gabriella Nagy, Nicki Ruszkay, Grace Capuzzi and Natalie Deritis along with assistant coaches Brian Smith, Mimi Deritis, Michelle Lott, Jackie Smith and Pat Rucker…Shanahan became the first team from District 1 other than Villa Maria Academy to win a Class AAA state title….The only other District 1 team to win a PIAA championship has been Merion Mercy Academy in Class AA…On Saturday, Merion Mercy captured its third straight Class AA title….Shananan finished the season with a 27-1 record and its only loss was a five-set nailbiter to Merion Mercy…At this year's Ford Tough Tournament at Haverford High, the Eagles defeated Allentown Central Catholic in the quarterfinals and Merion Mercy Academy in the semifinals…Shanahan pinned losses on three district champions at states this year - Mount Lebanon (District 7), Hempfield (District 3) and Allentown Central Catholic (District 11).


Tuesday, January 25
2010 Results

Sunday, August 15
2009 Results - State Champions!

Wednesday, August 27
2008 Results

Wednesday, November 28
2007 Results

Thursday, March 23
2006 Results

Tuesday, August 1
2005 Results

2004 Results

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