The Marian volleyball team has had quite a successful season. On Saturday afternoon at Martz Hall, the Fillies added yet another page to what they hope will be a state championship story book ending. With their win over Tri-Valley in the District 11 Championship, they now have an opportunity to accomplish just that.
The Fillies took down the 'Dawgs in four games winning 25-21, 15-25, 25-17, and 25-17.
Marian has been a regular in the District 11 Class A volleyball title game for well over a decade, but they haven't brought home the gold in the last five seasons, making this one an emotional win for the Fillies. It was especially satisfying for Marian's all-time kill leader and senior captain MaryKate Sherkness. Sherkness has been the driving force of the Fillies program for the past four seasons and now finally has obtained the hardware.
"Not being able to go to states was hard, and it was something we always looked forward to, but we didn't quite get there," said Sherkness. "This year we knew what we had to do and we knew we had to get the job done. We worked so hard this year and we worked together, we're like a family and it showed on the court."
Sherkness once again turned in a prime time performance. She was locked in from the get go and was able to place the ball anywhere she wanted, finishing with 26 kills on the afternoon.
The first set between the two squads indicated that it was going to be a very competitive volleyball match. The two battled to a 13-13 score and then later a 16-16 stalemate. Then Sherkness and Grace Boyle helped give the Fillies a 20-16 advantage. Boyle collected three aces and Sherkness came up with three kills in that run boosting the Fillies to a 25-21 game one victory.
Marian's Boyle has been the other consistent striker offensively along with Sherkness. When Boyle is on the Fillies' opposition stands a pretty good chance at losing.
"It was a really important game and we worked really hard to get here," said Boyle. "We knew that once we got here we were going to bring home the win."
If there's one thing the Fillies have struggled with this season it's been serving and it's the reason why the 'Dawgs were able to win game two. The Fillies committed 16 errors in the set in which seven of them were service errors. It's something the fillies must try and fix before they enter state play on Tuesday.
"That's our second straight game with seven serving errors, but the girls bounced back," said Marian Coach John Fallabel, who picked up his 200th career victory in the win.. "The girls did the little things right and they all did their job. When you make mistakes throughout a game you have to come back in the next set and correct them and we did that today."
The third set was all Fillies as they jumped out to a 20-9 led once again Sherkness, who had nine kills in the frame. Emily Pilla also did her part from the service line coming up with four straight aces during that run.
The fourth and final set served as a bit of a coming out party for Marian freshman Abby Stankiewitch. The youngster had four kills in the game, totaling 10 on the day and made her presence known in the middle throughout the match.
"When I jump straight I hit the ball much better and these girls have helped me improve so much throughout the course of the year," said Stankiewitch. "It's just great to get this win, we've trained so hard to get here, and it's just a really happy moment."
Sophomore Abby O'Donnell turned in quite an effort for the Fillies as well. O'Donnell has already surpassed the 1,000 assist mark, but earned another milestone setting a personal high of 59 assists against the 'Dawgs.
Nikki Collevechio did her part as well coming up with 23 digs.
With the win the Fillies will now enter state play where they will face Dunmore at 6 p.m. at Tamaqua High School on Tuesday.