Comets champs again
BY JOSH HALEY World Correspondent
Sunday, October 14, 2012
10/14/12 at 6:14 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - When you've won five state championships in a row, you would think that no situation is foreign.
In Saturday's Class 6A volleyball championship match at Westmoore, Bishop Kelley drifted into uncharted waters as it trailed Edmond Memorial 2-1, marking the first time the Comets had allowed an opponent to win two sets in a championship match.
No. 1 Bishop Kelley proved to be well prepared for the challenge as the Comets rallied for a 3-2 victory to capture their second straight 6A title and their sixth consecutive state championship overall.
"We have to give Edmond Memorial a lot of credit because they are a great team," said Bishop Kelley head coach Jerri Berna. "I'm pretty fortunate that I have great kids to work with. When you have a tradition, they work every day to live up to it."
The fifth set began with Bishop Kelley scoring the first two points before Edmond Memorial rattled off five straight.
"We weren't going to win because one or two or three people played well," said Berna. "We talked to them about not overplaying their position and to just do their own job to the best of their ability and that would bring us together."
No. 3 Edmond Memorial maintained the lead until a pair of blocks by Liza Hepner gave the Comets an 11-10 lead. From there, the Comets scored four of the final five points, including the final two from Phoebe Lowe and Josie Gandall. Lowe, Gandall and Grace Balcerak combined for more than 30 kills.
"It was all a mental game for us," said Gandall. "We had to keep our heads up and stay positive through everything."
Trailing 2-1 in the match, the Comets held a 20-13 lead in the fourth set until a furious 6-1 Edmond Memorial run made the score 21-19. Bishop Kelley settled down and ended the set on a 4-1 run to tie the match 2-2.
"We knew it was going to be tough, but we weren't going to let our season end that way," said senior Claire Kelley, a four-year starter.
Kelley was named the tournament's most valuable player while Gandall and Balcerak were also named to the all-tournament team.
"That is a great honor but like we were all thinking throughout the match, this isn't about me, it's about the team," said Balcerak.
Bishop Kelley seemed to have the third set in hand with a 24-21 lead, but a 4-0 run by the Bulldogs put the Comets behind 25-24. Bishop Kelley managed to escape one set point before falling 27-25.
Bishop Kelley made quick work of its semifinal matchup against Edmond Santa Fe, winning in straight sets while not allowing Santa Fe to break 10 points in two of the sets.
6A State Tournament
FRIDAY'S FIRST ROUND
Edmond North def. Owasso, 25-12, 25-21, 25-14.
Edmond Memorial def. Union, 25-11, 25-21, 26-24.
Edmond Santa Fe def. Stillwater, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20.
Kelley def. Broken Arrow, 25-16, 25-15, 25-21.
Kelley def. Edmond Santa Fe, 25-8, 25-236, 25-10.
Edmond Memorial def. Edmond North
Kelley def. Edmond Memorial, 13-25, 25-12, 25-27, 25-20, 15-12.
Bishop Kelley players hold up their trophy after winning the Class 6A state volleyball championship Saturday. GARETT FISBECK / The Oklahoman