POTTSVILLE - When it comes to a Marian and Nativity battle in girls volleyball, both teams leave everything out on the court.
You don't see such an intense battle too often in other sports, but when the Fillies and Green Wave go head-to-head, fans of both schools know they better fasten their seat belts.
It was no different on Thursday night at Martz Hall when the two banged heads again in the District 11 Class A final.
When the dust cleared, it was Nativity which prevailed for the third time in four meetings this year by scores of 25-15, 25-23, 18-25 and 25-22.
"We love playing them and I'm sure they love playing us because it is always a great match," Nativity coach Maria Serina said. "Both teams just keep going after each other. It doesn't matter how either team plays against anyone else, it's always a battle."
The win avenged a loss to the Fillies over the weekend in the pool play round of the District Tournament that put a stop to Nativity's unbeaten season.
"She (Serina) made a couple of changes in her rotation which made a little bit of a difference," said Marian coach John Fallabel afterwards. "I tried to counter that in game three and it helped.
"When you lose, it's coaching. The girls played a great game. They played the best they could. I'll take the loss. The girls wanted this bad. They worked really hard for 10 months straight."
Serina knew during Saturday's contest that a change had to be made, but decided with her coaching staff that they didn't want to tip their hand and waited until the final to make the change."
"We switched up our defense, moving Sasha (Birosik) to left back opposed to her playing middle back," she said. "When we came in tonight, we knew they were really nailing the wings and had to stop that."
The Fillies and Green Wave kept it close through the early going of the first game before Nativity went on a six-point run to open up a 12-5 advantage. The Fillies cut it to two at 15-13 and 17-15, but the Green Wave ran off the final eight points for a 25-15 decision.
In the second game, the two teams were tied eight times before Nativity scored three of the last four points for a 25-23 win.
"I think it's important to jump out on any team to establish the momentum that you want to have throughout the match," said Serina.
Marian controlled game three after Fallabel made some adjustments, With the some adjustments, With the Fillies clinging to a 16-15 advantage, they ran off five straightpoints for a 21-15 lead and never looked back winning 25-18.
The Green Wave broke open a close fourth game with a five-point run for a 21-16 lead, but the Fillies came back to within one at 23-22. It looked like Marian had tied it up at 23 all, but the referee ruled the ball was tipped by a Fillie player giving Nativity a 24-22 edge and the Green Wave ended it on the next serve.
"We still haven't been able to beat their setter (junior Courtney Field)," said Fallabel. "Since she's been here, we've struggled with them. She's a great kid and a great player. They've got a great team and I wish them the best at states."
Looking at the numbers the Fillies put up last night, Devin Porambo had 17 kills, 16 digs and two blocks. Abby Owsinski added 10 kills, six blocks and two digs. Tori Vadyak had five kills and seven blocks. Taylor Mele had three aces and 21 digs. Rachel Krajcirik had three aces, two kills and 31 assists. Katelyn Collevechio played good defense and added one ace and 11 digs Cathleen Cataldo had five digs, Mary Kate Sherkness had five kills and Sarah Connelly had three kills and six blocks.
For Nativity, Emilie Baker had 11 kills and eight digs. Emily Grube had 14 kills and seven digs. Field had 32 assists, 28 digs and five blocks. Emily Kaledas had six kills and six blocks and Birosik had 21 digs.
Nativity now opens up PIAA play on Tuesday night when it faces MMI Prep at Tamaqua.