Lady Warriors reach Gold Bracket at Black Knight Invitational Girls Volleyball
While the Warwick girls’ volleyball team won two more regular-season matches last week, its greatest accomplishment may have been going 5-5 in a tournament on Saturday at Hempfield that featured some of the state’s best volleyball teams.
In the Black Knight Invitational, the Lady Warriors fell to eventual tournament champion Bishop Shanahan from the Coatesville area in the quarterfinals of the Gold Bracket playoffs by a score of 25-19.
The Gold Bracket was the playoff round for the tournament’s eight best teams. Seven teams came into the tournament ranked in the top 10 of their respective classifications in the state. A berth in the Gold Bracket made a statement for the Warwick program.
"One of our goals today was to make it to the Gold Bracket," Warwick coach Jen Wanner said. "Even though we lost in the first round, we met our goal and lost to a really good team."
A really good team, indeed.
Bishop Shanahan came into the tournament ranked by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association (PVCA) as the top team in Triple-A.
"We played a really good match against Bishop Shanahan," Wanner said. "We were right there with them."
After defeating Warwick in the quarterfinal round, Bishop Shanahan defeated Hempfield — ranked fourth in the state — in the semifinals and Parkland — ranked second in the state — for the tourney championship.
Warwick did manage to beat one of those seven highly-ranked teams on Saturday. After pool play, the Lady Warriors found themselves tied with Susquehannock — ranked eighth in the state — for the final spot in the Gold Bracket playoffs. The tie forced a one-game playoff, which Warwick won 25-22.
"Beating Susquehannock was a great win for us" Wanner said. "They are a strong program."
In pool play, Warwick finished third with a 4-4 record. Two of those losses were to defending state champion Parkland.
"We had a great day," Wanner said.
Section play resumed Tuesday night as the Lady Warriors traveled to Cedar Crest. Tonight (Thursday), Warwick hosts Hempfield at 7 p.m. The Lady Warriors will be celebrating their seniors with that being the final home match of the season.
With last week’s two regular-season victories, the Lady Warriors are 8-2 overall and 6-2 in league play. Warwick is in sole possession of second place in Section One of the L-L League, but the Lady Warriors must defeat first-place Hempfield (undefeated in regular-season action) tonight to remain alone in second place. A loss will throw Warwick back into a second-place tie with Penn Manor, who already has three league losses.
The Lady Warriors began this week ranked 10th in District Three, according to the PIAA power ratings. Tournament results do not have any impact on the PIAA power ratings. The power ratings only consider regular-season matches. The top 20 teams qualify for the District playoffs later this month.
In regular-season action last week, Warwick swept both matches, but each sweep was done in starkly different style.
The first match was last Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Dallastown, where the Lady Warriors had to fight to earn a 26-24, 25-18, 25-23 sweep. In the first set, Warwick trailed 20-12 before rallying for the two-point victory. The first-set comeback win may have taken some of the wind out of Dallastown’s sails.
Senior Greta Weidemoyer led the way at the net with 14 kills and three blocks. Sophomore Gia Gruett added 10 kills for the first double-digit kill total in her varsity career. Senior Emily Buckwalter and junior Gabby Yellets added six kills each. Buckwalter also served six aces. Senior libero Abby Wenger led the defense with 13 digs, while Buckwalter and Weidemoyer added 10 apiece.
Last Thursday, Warwick hosted McCaskey and made quick work of the Red Tornado holding them to single digits in each set, winning by scores of 25-9, 25-7 and 25-6. Again, Weidemoyer led the way at the net with 12 kills. Buckwalter added six kills and Yellets and Gruett chipped in with five apiece. Yellets served seven aces and Weidemoyer added four more. Junior Tristan Booker led the way with six digs. After tonight’s match against Hempfield, the Lady Warriors travel to Manheim for a tournament on Saturday. Next week, the final two games of Warwick’s regular season have been rescheduled to Monday and Wednesday against Manheim Twp. and CV, respectiveiy. More GOLD BRACKET, page B-6