Ursuline had plenty of motivation to beat Eastchester Wednesday afternoon, facing a team that swept them three weeks ago and hosting their first-ever “Dig Pink” day under coach Gigi Kemp.
And Ursuline (10-3) returned the favor against the Eagles (8-3), sweeping them 25-20, 25-21, 26-24 at home. The Koalas are consistently one of the best teams in the section on their home floor, having lost just four matches there since Nov. 3, 2009.
“It was huge,” Kemp said. “The girls needed this confidence — (Eastchester) swept us in the first match, and we lost by two points each game, so the girls wanted to find those two points, and they found them.”
After winning the opening game, the Koalas fell behind in the second game, trailing 20-13 at one point. Knowing they needed a run to get back in the game, Ursuline had just the girl serving to do it.
Senior Julia Parascandola has one of the most effective jump serves in the game, and she showed why against the Eagles.
With Ursuline trailing 21-15, Parascandola served 10 unanswered points for the Koalas, giving them the game, and a 2-0 lead in the match.
“That just shows off our endurance,” Parascandola said. “We can get down, but we’re still able to pick it up and finish.”
Parascandola finished the day with eight kills and 17 digs for the Koalas.
While Parascandola might have been serving when Ursuline got the majority of its points, more often than not, it was senior captain Lauren Biolsi who was finishing them off.
Biolsi recorded a match-high 21 kills and added 16 digs in the win. One of the most effective players in the section right now, Biolsi is averaging more than 20 kills, six aces and 11 digs in her last four matches.
In their 3-2 win over Ardsley last Friday, Biolsi achieved a rare triple-double, accumulating 29 kills, 12 aces and 17 digs against the Panthers (8-4).
A big factor in Ursuline’s success was their ability to shut down Eastchester’s standout junior, Catherine Manning.
Manning, who averaged 15.5 kills in her previous four matches, was limited to just five Wednesday afternoon.
The 6-footer, who is also stellar on defense for the Eagles, did not record a single block, and neither did the rest of her team.
Ursuline now has no dual matches until their meeting against Pelham Tuesday, but they will attend the 20-team, ninth annual Panther Invitational tournament at Panas on Saturday, as will Eastchester.
“We’re excited to see teams we haven’t played yet,” Kemp said.
“We haven’t played Panas, we haven’t played (Clarkstown) South, we’re just looking forward to having that challenge.”