The York Catholic Fighting Irish will live to play another day.

The Fighting Irish defeated the Blue Ridge Raiders, 3-1, to advance to the second round of the volleyball Class A state tournament with a 25-19, 24-26, 25-14, 25-13 victory. The Red Raiders put up a fight, but the Fighting Irish weathered the storm after losing Game 2 and won the next two games to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals.

"We knew they were going to get their runs and stuff," York Catholic setter McKenna Walker said. "But we were just going to fight back and come back strong. ... We knew we could do it."

After the fighting Irish took the first game by a six-point margin, the Raiders responded by taking a quick 3-1 advantage to open the second game. York Catholic fought back to even the score and the two sides traded points. The Fighting Irish managed to take an 18-13 lead, but the Raiders clawed back and eventually took a 21-20 lead.

No lead was safe in Game 2, so even after the Fighting Irish led, 24-22, the outcome was still in doubt. Blue Ridge picked up four consecutive points to come away with the win.

The Fighting Irish regrouped in the third game, 25-14, and rolled through the fourth game to secure the victory over Blue Ridge.

"I think we might just have gotten a little too ahead of ourselves and nervous," Walker said about the second game. "We came back and fought at the end. It was good because we believed we could win."

Walker added about Game 3: "It was good to have that win."

York Catholic carries a young roster. The Fighting Irish only have three seniors, with four juniors, one sophomore and three freshman.

Fighting Irish head coach Phillip Autrey praised the role the three seniors have played to help their younger teammates.

"What a great job they've done putting these girls under their wings and not treating them life freshmen and sophomores and juniors. They've done a great job with that," he said. "In kind, the young kids have responded to what we've asked them to do, which is just be volleyball players out there. Don't worry about making mistakes, don't worry about the (lack of) experience. That's why we have practice."

The Fighting Irish will play North Star in a quarterfinal on Saturday.

York Catholic 3, Blue Ridge 1

25-19, 24-26, 25-14, 25-13

at Cumberland Valley High School

York Catholic stats — Brook Ricks (1 ace, 16 digs), Maddie Kepner (5 digs), Liz Gick (2 kills), Rachel Shelley (6 kills, 4 aces, 1 dig), Izzy Johnson (8 kills), Rosalee Najdek (2 digs), Emily Hoffman (7 kills, 2 aces, 4 digs), Bella Kepner (6 kills, 1 dig) McKenna Walker (2 digs, 1 ace, 4 digs, 27 assists), Megan Daugherty (2 aces).

Blue Ridge — Abby Hartman (1 ace, 9 kills, 3 digs), Brooke Marvin (1 kill), Hayleigh Fekette (4 aces 2 kills, 19 assists, 14 digs) Kalynne Myers (3 kills, 4 assists, 6 digs),Kandace Smith (1 ace, 22 digs), Kim Klim (2 aces, 6 kills, 14 digs), Megan Houlihan (1 ace 7 kills, 1 block 10 digs).

Read or Share this story: