PHILADELPHIA — Number 17 on the Lansdale Catholic volleyball team had 10 kills in the PIAA Class AA opening round game against York Suburban. Number four found a way to dig out 14 near points by the District Three runner-ups and number five for the District 12 champs was a human highlight reel all afternoon at The High School of the Future in Philadelphia.
However on Tuesday, it was number 183 that led the Crusaders to a 3-0 (25-8, 25-16, 25-17) sweep of the Trojans.
Number 183 is worn on all 13 varsity player sleeves. It is the cumulative number of the Crusaders' jersey number. The entire group played its part in getting past the first round of the PIAA tournament, something they were unable to do in the past two seasons.
"People always track individual stats, but we are such a team,' Crusaders coach Joann Pisch said. "Getting past this round has been the monkey on our back for the past two years. They feel confident and they were ready.'
The Crusaders came in determined to inch closer to a state championship. They wasted little time pulling away from the Trojans and shaking their confidence. In Game 1 it was 11-5 before they could blink and then a 10-0 run helped them earn the 25-8 win.
"We really came in hungry for the win,' middle hitter Brynne Taylor said. "We have offense pin to pin and any of our hitters can put the ball away at any time.'
A little road trip to the District Three championship game helped the Crusaders prepare for the Trojans. When they took the court at the High School of the Future they knew exactly where they wanted to place their serves and what hitters needed to be defended.
"We saw them play on Saturday against Delone Catholic,' Taylor said. "We looked at their big hitters and worked really hard in practice. We did what we needed to do to pull out the win.'
A midst the ease they dealt the Trojans with, the Crusaders collected another team goal they have strived for all season. Coach Pisch made sure to acknowledge the 1,000 kill of the season that came during the dismantling of the York-area school.
"Usually there are one or two hitters on a team you can key on, but not ours,' Pisch said. "Brynne does have a reputation and they do follow her a bit, but if you double her we will just go to our other players.'
Leading the offense was the senior Taylor, who moved in and out and landed kills left and right. Several girls got in the action and junior Kaitlyn Kushman collected 29 assists over the three games. A trio of seniors, Alicia Kradzinski, Chelsey Dutkiewicz, and Kerry Duggan all finished with six or more kills.
The Crusaders advance to Saturday's quarterfinals to face District One champ Pope John Paul II, which defeated District 11 champ Bethlehem Catholic 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-10). LC lost to Pope John Paul II 3-1 on the road on Oct 3.
"We picked each other up as a team,' Taylor said. "If one of us is off, two other hitters are on. We work so hard and we show it in the games that we want to win.'
Follow Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.