The Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals withstood a tough Clarion Golden Eagle team to win in five sets and advance to the Atlantic Region Women's Volleyball final.
The first set went back and forth with 11 ties before Clarion took the largest lead to that point at 18-15. The Golden Eagles pushed the lead to four before the Cardinals scored five unanswered to reclaim the lead 20-19 and forced a Clarion timeout. A Hannah Heeter kill tied the set at 23 forcing a Cardinal timeout. The Golden Eagle held on to the momentum thanks to a Heeter kill and two errors by Wheeling Jesuit to take the set 25-23.
The Cardinals came out fast in the second set jumping to a 6-2 lead. A pair of Emily Stewart kills for Clarion trimmed the lead to one at 7-6. Jesuit pushed the lead to nine at 18-9, and stretched the lead to 23-14 before the Golden Eagles went on a four point run to make it 23-18. Abby Wietrzykowski ended the Clarion threat with a kill to end the set 25-18.
The Golden Eagles took an early lead in the third before Wheeling Jesuit came back to tie it at five. Clarion regained the lead and went up by three at 10-7 before the Cardinals called timeout. The Golden Eagles extended their lead to five shortly after the timeout and maintained the lead with the teams trading points late in the set. The lead went to six before an exciting point killed by Allissa Ware to make it 23-19, but the Cardinals could get no closer and Clarion finished off the set 25-19 with a Carlie Bieranowski kill.
In the fourth the teams traded points to open the set with Wheeling Jesuit holding the lead by no more than two. Clarion took their first lead at 8-7 before the Cardinals tied it up again. The Golden Eagles called a timeout as Jesuit took a two point lead 15-13. Rebecca Webb had a kill and a service ace consecutively to put Clarion up 20-18. Wheeling Jesuit briefly took the lead 22-20, before the Golden Eagles tied the set at 23. The Cardinals withheld the Clarion push to take a very tight fourth set 26-24.
The Cardinals carried the momentum they got from the fourth set to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the final frame. After Clarion cut the lead to two, Rachel Caja energized the Cardinals making the lead 8-5. Jesuit got another block from Caja to make the score 14-8 and took the final set 15-10.
Clarion concludes the season with a 24-12 record. Bieranowski led the Golden Eagles offensively with 13 kills and added 18 digs on the night. Emily Stewart added 12 kills and Rebecca Ferragonio led Clarion defensively with 36 digs.
Jenna Pew had 16 kills and handed out 22 assists to lead Wheeling Jesuit on offense. Allissa Ware chipped in 11 kills and also had 18 digs. Makenzie Ripley led the Cardinal defense with 28 digs. The Cardinals improve to 37-2 on the season and advance to a rematch of last Atlantic Regional final against California (PA).
The Atlantic Regional final is scheduled for 7:30 pm Saturday, December 1 at the Alma Grace McDonough Center at Wheeling Jesuit.