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More MMHSAA volleyball titles for Canisius boys, St. Mary's girls

Ethan Weislo had 34 assists as the Crusaders knocked off rival St.Joe’s in three sets to win their 19th consecutive Monsignor Martin Athletic Association volleyball championship.

The game was part of a girls/boys doubleheader that was held at Cardinal O’Hara High School.

"To have this moment with my sons. Their first year on varsity as sophomores," Tom Weislo said. "It’s more than I could ask for."

Ethan agreed that sharing this moment with his dad and brother was the perfect way to cap off their first season of varsity.

"It feels real good," Ethan Weislo said.

Canisius won by scores of 25-17, 25-23 and 25-13. It was set two that defined just how mentally tough Canisius is.

The Marauders built a 21-15 lead and clearly had the momentum on their side. The Crusaders bent, but they didn’t break.

Thanks in part to Connor Booth (12 kills) and John Scrocco (11 kills/five blocks) they were able to chip away and eventually regain the lead and close out the win.

"Nineteen years in a row," senior captain Christian Cungo said with a broad smile.

"It’s unbelievable. Just being able to be a part of this team and come out and win it for the school. For the community everyone who follows the team. Nineteen years straight. It’s incredible."

Coach Weislo said the hallmark of this team was their growth. How they got better week after week and molded themselves into a team worthy of this moment.

"I’m proud of every group every year, but this group had remarkable growth from the start of the season until right now," Weislo said. "We were not as good a team in August as we are right now. We’ve gotten so much better over the course. of the year. In fact of all the teams that we’ve had they’ve had the most growth from beginning to end."

St. Mary’s sweeps

Each team is different, but the end goal is always the same: win.

Hannah Mulhern had seven kills, and the game winning point, as St. Mary’s of Lancaster swept Sacred Heart.

Winning by scores of 25-10, 25-12 and 25-18 the Lancers breezed to their eighth consecutive playoff title and punched their ticket to the state tournament that will be played at St. Mary’s on Nov. 10. There they will attempt to capture their 17th state title overall.

"Every year is different and we know that every year we have to prove that we are one of the best," said Mulhern.

This was far from the only battle Mulhern had to contend with this season as she overcame two different surgeries after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor.

The final outcome was never really in doubt as the Lancers were clearly in charge all night.

Their combination of strong play at the net, especially from Marie Rhodes (four blocks/nine kills) and solid back row defense made it tough for the Sharks to create any offensive flow.

St. Mary’s offense was paced by Kelly Cleversly, who had 10 kills.

Coming in the Lancers looked to be the more relaxed and confident team. Even though they carry the expectation of continuing the program’s legacy of success the pressure doesn’t show as they know it’s not about replicating what previous teams have done.

It’s about being their best and creating their our history.

"We talk about it all the time," head coach Dan Pieczynski said. "We are a family but each team has to create their own legacy. It’s been carried on for decades now. The kids believe in it and they buy into it and that’s the key to our success."

Sacred Heart, who last won the playoff title in 2010, showed a strong sense of compete in the third set, but having to battle from behind virtually all night long took its toll.

 

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