By Josh Levine
Despite dropping the first two games of its Bay Counties League West semifinal match, Convent of the Sacred Heart High School’s girls volleyball team stormed back to beat International 23-25, 15-25, 25-18, 25-15, 15-11 on Thursday at Lick-Wilmerding High School.
“We really played as a team, especially in those last three games,” said first-year Convent head coach Laura O’Reilly. “Volleyball is sometimes seen as an individual’s sport, but there is a team effort. It was in their hands to turn it around and they did that.”
The second-seeded Cubs took an early 6-0 lead in the deciding fifth game, but after a quick timeout, International came back to tie the game at 9-9, which forced a Convent timeout. Convent then went on a 6-2 run to end the match.
“Remember, the last two times we faced them it went five games,” said first-year International head coach Alana Walker. “Convent played great and they stormed back. I love that they fought hard and it was a tragic loss for us, but Convent played their hearts out.”
While the Convent attack came from a variety of players, the focus of International’s offense was freshman outside hitter Michelle Gajdka. Gajdka recorded 18 kills in the first two games, but was held to only six in the final three games.
“She’s our best weapon, both on offense and defense,” Walker said. “She’s the best passe, and you can’t really say enough about her. You know that at the end of the play, she’s going to be on the ground diving for the ball. She’s the player you would clone for [her] drive and hustle, not even including [her] talent.”