In sports, often injuries can happen and it seems that more times than not they can come at inopportune moments.
That was exactly the case for the Marian Fillies volleyball team heading into the Schuylkill League playoffs.
Middle hitter Abby Stankiewitch, who has been one of the main catalysts to the Fillies success this season injured her ankle and it was deemed that she would miss the Schuylkill League Championship game.
However, even with Stankiewitch out the Fillies banded together, dropping Pottsville in four games 25-17, 25-27, 25-11, and 25-11 to win their first Schuylkill League Championship since 2010.
"Our girls had a great time out there tonight and a lot of credit has to go to sophomore Cassandra Hoban (six kills), who filled in for Abby (Stankiewitch) tonight," said Marian coach John Fallabel. "She had the game of her life out there and the rest of the girls did their jobs. It was next girl up tonight, we played as a team, it was just a wonderful performance."
The Fillies handled the Tide in the first set 25-17, but had a little bit of a set back in the second.
Pottsville stole some of the momentum back from Marian in the second set, winning 27-25 in what was a thrilling display of volleyball. Marian battled back from a six-point deficit to knot things up at 21. The two would then battle back and forth in the frame until a block at the net by Pottsville's Caren Moyer gave the Tide the game two win.
Marian's second set loss might have been just what they needed as they dominated the third and fourth. The Fillies looked confident on almost every point throughout the night and when they came back on the floor for the third set it was evident that they wanted to hoist the Schuylkill League Championship trophy.
"The second game was a setback for us, but we came back even stronger in the third and fourth," said Marian setter Abby O'Donnell. "This was just an amazing win for us tonight. We were really pumped all day about the opportunity to play in the Schuylkill League Championship and we knew it was our game to win."
Marian senior Grace Boyle has been the cornerstone of the Fillies all season long and once again did not disappoint. Boyle had nine kills and 18 digs on the night.
"Grace since this summer has made so much improvement in her game and worked so hard to get where she is today," said Fallabel.
"This goes back to her freshman year where we had her playing middle hitter and all she kept telling us was that she wanted to be an outside hitter. So, that's what we did and obviously she has thrived in that role."
Boyle had no doubts last night even after the Fillies lost game two. In fact, when the second set ended not one Marian player had their head down, it actually looked like the loss motivated them even more.
"We just played our hearts out tonight and personally I was just riding off the momentum of my teammates," said Boyle. "Even after we lost the second set there was no quit in our play. We always think we have a chance to win and our motto is to never give up."
The Fillies' Maureen Kloap aided Boyle, leading the team in kills with 11. She also added 10 digs and eight aces. Emily Pilla also had a solid night accumulating nine kills and 14 digs. Abby O'Donnell racked up the assists once again for Marian tallying 37.