Big Macs knock off North Hills in WPIAL volleyball

CM Girls Vollleyball team members go in for a high five.
Posted On: Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Please click here for the original article from the Observer-Reporter written by staff writer Joe Tuscano. Photo Credit: Canon-McMillan Volleyball's Facebook Page)

CANONSBURG – Through the first seven matches, Canon-McMillan’s volleyball team had a surprisingly poor 2-5 record.

The talent level the Big Macs took on was strong and more than one eyebrow was raised at their mark.

But Sheila Mitchell wasn’t worried. The head coach of the volleyball team didn’t need any antacid tablets or aspirin. She knew that it might take a little time but the Big Macs would be all right when section play came up in Class 4A.

And she was right. Canon-McMillan went 9-1 in the section – the only loss coming against Peters Towsnhip – and Tuesday night, the Big Macs chopped up North Hills, 3-0, with scores of 25-9, 25-15 and 25-16 in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

The win moves Canon-McMillan, the fifth seed in the bracket, to Thursday’s quarterfinals against Penn-Trafford at a time and site to be determined. North Hills finishes the season at 6-11.

“We started strong in most of those (early) games. It just got away from us in some of those games,” Mitchell said. “The play here though, obviously, we’ve come together. We have two freshmen and they were coming in new to the team. They are really jelling right now. And it’s a good time to be.”

Mitchell was talking about Gianna Reamer, who had 16 kills, and Natalie Carr, who had eight kills and five aces. Those two freshmen gave the team the spark it needed. Reamer, a 6-1 outside hitter, sent lasers across the net so much so that North Hill defenders were backing away when she loaded up.

“I had confidence in this team,” said Reamer. “I just made sure I cheered on every person on our team. When we started section play, that’s when it turned around for us.”

Carr, a 5-11 outside hitter, gave the Big Macs a little bit of everything out there.

“Everybody was very welcoming and I felt right at home playing here,” said Carr. “We were confident things would turn around.”

Adding the freshmen to an already talented lineup just made expectations higher.

Abby Tucker, a 6-1 sophomore, seemed to feed off Reamer along the front line. She had seven kills.

Senior Kaylee Knobel had 12 assists from her setter spot and 5-10 junior setter Josie Carter had 13 assists.

“The one thing we talked about was getting into a rhythm,” Mitchell said. “We needed to get into a rhythm and play our game. That’s the pace we know we should be playing at and I’m glad we kept it through the rest of the game.”

Canon-McMillan scored the first seven points of the first set and never looked back on the way to a 25-9 victory.

North Hillls jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set but two strong runs by Canon-McMillan earned a 25-15 win.

A strong finish to the third set, where C-M outscored North Hills 10-3 polished off the Indians 25-16.

“Our plan of attack was to adjust when they shifted their defense,” said North Hills head coach Matt White. “Canon-Mac does a phenomenal job of moving players where they need to go.”

Their next game is Thursday at 7:30 at Penn-Trafford

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