BEA Girl’s Volleyball set for state championship against Holy Redeemer on Saturday
WINGATE — Bald Eagle Area coach Larry Campbell instilled a winning formula for the volleyball program. Instead of centering expectations on wins-and-losses or performing at a high level, Campbell reinforced to the girls the importance having fun, and the laid-back demeanor resulted in a 22-0 record and a berth in the PIAA State Championship Game.
Bald Eagle Area faces Holy Redeemer in the PIAA 2A State Championship Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg, PA. BEA advanced to the finals after a 3-1 win against Freeport in the state semifinals, and needless to say the team is eager to bring a title back to Wingate.
“The kids have a good attitude, and you know our team’s a little bit different with the fact that our main goal is really just to have fun,” BEA coach Larry Campbell said. “When we’re having fun, we’re playing loose and we’re a pretty tough team to beat.”
BEA’s early-game success set the tempo in each of its three state wins. In all three games, they’ve won the first set, which includes a win over 2016 state champion Corry and 2017 state champion Freeport. BEA faces No. 1 in the state ranked Holy Redemer in the title game, and the team figures another hot start will lead to positive results.
“Since the state run, we’ve started quick with a lot of teams,” Campbell explained. “We’ve played a faster tempo, and teams don’t see that a whole lot. In that first set, it’s been tough for people to get adjusted to our speed.”
The Eagles have dropped just three sets all season. They boast an incredible 66-3 set-record in 2018. On Saturday, they aim to eliminate Wilkes Barre’s district 2 winner Holy Redeemer (22-4) and be the last team standing in the PIAA 2A bracket.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
BEA’s identity on offense is its accurate serving and passing ability on the court. Those core traits anchor the team and need to be displayed Saturday to boost their chances of winning.
“If we serve and pass the ball, we have enough offensive weapons where we can score from a lot of different places,” Campbell said. “If you look at the two sets we lost in the state tournament, our serving broke down, and that’s where the team was able to get kind of a little push against us and go.”
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Bald Eagle Area is a young team. The youthful squad lacks any senior members.
Despite the lack of senior leadership, the 2018 Eagles have padded a resume that includes two state playoff wins against the past two state champions in the division.
“Just look at the road we’ve had,” Campbell said. “We beat the 2016 state champ with Corry, and we beat the 2017 state champ with Freeport. And Holy Redeemer is currently ranked No.1 in the state, for whatever that’s worth. It’s not an easy path, but we’ve earned every step of the way and now we have one more in front of us.”
BALD EAGLE AREA WILL WIN IF
“We play it our way,” Campbell said. “We’ve got to be loose, have fun, be free and play our rear-end off. “