State College, PA - Penn State Fayette volleyball coach Sam Swetz has a knack for calling timeouts at the right time, and it helped the team win the PSUAC championship for the 11th time Tuesday night.
"I am so incredibly proud of this team," said an emotional Swetz. "I am honored and blessed to be their coach."
During the deciding fifth set of the PSUAC championship, Swetz called timeouts with the team down 9-5 and again down 11-8.
After the timeout down 9-5, Fayette trimmed the lead to 9-8 and following the timeout down 11-8, the team went on a 5-0 run to take a 13-11 lead.
Swetz talked about the team and the moxie it showed coming out of the timeouts.
"I feel like the timeouts energized them," she said. "They came out and wanted it even more."
The teams exchanged points and with the set tied at 14-14, Siteri Tale (Uniontown/Laurel Highlands HS) blocked a shot by Beaver's Brooke Tomasko to give Fayette a 15-14 lead.
Having to win by deuce, Madison Knight (Clarksburg, WV/Robert C. Boyd HS) scored the winning point with a kill off of an assist from Jadyn Barnish (Carmichaels, Carmichaels HS) to clinch Fayette's 11th championship in the 21-year history of the tournament.
Fayette (21-7) jumped up two sets to none with 25-17 and 25-21 wins.
However, Beaver (17-16) counted with consecutive wins of their own, 25-16, 25-15, to force the thrilling and decisive final set.
Tale, who finished with 19 digs and eight blocks, talked about winning the title.
"It feels so good to be champions again," she said, having been on the team that won the title in 2016 but lost in the finals last year. "Emotions are just going through my head right now and I can't explain how excited I am!"
Barnish, who finished with 46 assists, shared her feelings.
"I felt like I was having a heart attack the whole last set, but I knew that we would pull through," she said. "I believe in all my hitters and it feels even better to assist Madison on the last point.
"My adrenaline was rushing as I set it and knew I couldn't mess up…I am blessed with my team and playing Fayette volleyball."
Chanel Porter (Cumberland, MD/Allegany HS) had 22 digs and she spoke about the win.
"It feels good to win in Rec Hall in my last season," she said with excitement in her voice. "I knew we were the better team, but Beaver did not go down without a fight.
"We didn't expect anything less from them but in the end, we worked together and got the win!"
The team now waits for the brackets for the USCAA national tourney which takes place November 8-11.
The pairings will be released Wednesday at 4 p.m.
For more information on the volleyball team, go to https://www.psfathletics.com/sports/wvball/index.
Written by Bill Hughes