Marian going for the Gold
The Marian volleyball team has had their success over the years, qualifying for the state tournament 10 times since 1999.
The Fillies (23-2) took home the PIAA A gold in 2003 and exactly 10 years later they're looking to capture their second state championship in school history.
This year's Fillies team has all the intangibles it takes to win a state title and it all starts with talented setter Abby O'Donnell. O'Donnell currently sits second to Kayla Poluka (3,783) in the Marian record books in all-time assists. Presently, O'Donnell has over 800 assists in her junior campaign.
On the outside Grace Boyle (leads team in kills), Emily Pilla, and Maureen Kloap have been the top spikers for the Fillies. All three of them can leap and they've put a ton of pressure on opposing defenses this season. Boyle has been the constant for the Marian offense throughout the season, but Pilla and Kloap have come on as late. Kloap and Pilla each tallied seven kills a piece in their win over Bishop Guilfoyle on Tuesday.
Abby Stankiewitch (6-1) has ruled the middle this season for the Fillies. She especially showed her talents against Guilfoyle, coming through with 14 kills and four blocks. Stankiewitch is just a sophomore and has been getting better with each and every match. When Stankiewitch is rolling the Fillies are a really tough team to beat.
On every team somebody has to do the "dirty work" and it takes just a moment to see who that player is for the Fillies. Junior Lauren Nietz sacrifices it all out there on the court for the Fillies. She's constantly diving and making tough plays in the backline for the blue and gold.
Last, but not least is Sophie Myers. Myers is experienced and has been the emotional leader for the Fillies in 2013.
"These girls have had some pretty rough losses in big games over the years, but this year it feels like a team with a destiny," said Marian coach John Fallabel. "It's been 10 years since our last state championship and this year we just have a great team. This is just a true team. We have a ton of support as well. I have former players, players from that state championship team that said they're getting hotel rooms in York. They're coming to see us play, it's just an exciting time for our team."
On Saturday at 11 a.m. Marian will face off with the District 10 Champion in Cochranton. The Cardinals are a tough volleyball squad and they're led by senior middle hitter Kendell Dickson. Dickson has an impressive 499 kills on the year. Junior Kassidy Dickson has 252 kills on the season and seniors Katie Boeckenhauer (131 kills) and Tristin Knauff (121 kills) have also played solid.
Doing the setting for the Cardinals is junior Morghan Egli. Egli is right up there with O'Donnell on the season with assists, tallying 873 on the year.
It's obvious that the Fillies will have their work cut out for them on Saturday. With it being a state championship game, nobody would expect different. Still, the fact remains that this Fillies team is a special group and it's something that coach Fallabel raves about whenever you bring up the subject of his volleyball team.
"This is a great bunch of girls and a great volleyball team," said Fallabel. "It still amazes me how good these girls. I mean this is a really really good team. The things they do out there are amazing, we just can't wait to get to York on Saturday and compete for a state title."