In the 2023 championship match, which was played last Wednesday in the gym at Agnes Irwin School, the Patriots finally got over the hump and knocked off Notre Dame, 3-1.
There have been several volleyball seasons in the past when Germantown Academy won the Inter-Ac League championship by sweeping a home/away series against archrival Academy of Notre Dame and defeating the other league teams in the same manner.
Each of those seasons ended with the GA Patriots falling to Notre Dame in the finals of the Pa. Independent Schools tournament, which the Irish won from 2013 to 2022.
This time it was different.
In the 2023 championship match, which was played last Wednesday in the gym at Agnes Irwin School, the Patriots finally got over the hump and knocked off Notre Dame, 3-1. Capturing the PAIS crown, they finished their season with an overall record of 23-3-1.
In the Inter-Ac League season GA went undefeated at 8-0, beating Notre Dame twice, 3-1 and 3-0, en route to the championship. Baldwin School was third in the final Inter-Ac standings, while Agnes Irwin was fourth and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy was fifth. The other two league members, Penn Charter and Episcopal Academy, do not field volleyball teams.
Third-year GA head coach Chuck Dougherty favors an aggressive style of volleyball, and in last week's championship match his Patriots jumped ahead with solid wins in the first two sets, 25-17, 25-19.
Notre Dame, under the longtime leadership of Mike Sheridan, avoided a sweep by prevailing in an extraordinarily long third set. The first team to score 25 points wins a set, but as in a game of tennis, a team must win by two points. The Irish were able to stay alive by pulling out a 34-32 victory in the third.
Kept at bay momentarily, the Patriots came out determined to wrap up the affair in the fourth round, and they won the set at 25-20 to clinch the match and the championship. Seniors Kaitlin Pokorny and Angie Wang are the captains of the exceptional 2023 squad.
In the PAIS finals, Wang recorded 27 assists and sophomore Nicole Ward had 24. Up at the net, junior Caroline Smith plied 24 kills and two blocks. Junior Hadley Evans had 13 kills and sophomore Emily Pokorny (Kaitlin's sister) had 10.