YORK TWP. — Buckeye’s volleyball team has dominated the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division all season.
Now, the Bucks have a championship banner to prove it.
Molly Galaszewski hammered 18 kills, Kamiah Gibson dished out 29 assists, and Koral Gibson and Shannon Galdun had seven kills apiece Monday, leading Buckeye to a 25-14, 25-18, 25-17 sweep of Firelands that clinched the outright PAC Stars title.
The Bucks (15-5, 12-2) captured the fifth league crown in school history — all occurring since 2008 — and put an exclamation point on their first year under veteran coach Tom Schuler.
“This was our final home game and the last time we’ll play in this gym, so we wanted to win it for each other and for all of the people who have supported us,” said senior outside hitter Katie Davis, who had six kills and two blocks. “Being able to do it in three games and leave the court with our heads held high was awesome.”
Junior outside hitter Galaszewski and senior libero Katie Lyons were full-time varsity players on Buckeye’s previous title team in 2015. But for the other 12th-graders on the squad, it was a new and thoroughly satisfying moment.
Middle hitters Koral Gibson and Kayleen Sexton, defensive specialist Alaina Calame and outside hitters Galdun and Davis took great pride in creating a championship legacy as seniors.
“It was especially important to win the title, not just for us, but for the younger players who are coming up through the program,” Calame said. “It’s been a hard road, but we’ve been pushing each other and listening to Coach the entire season. I’m really glad that everything turned out this way.”
The Bucks extended their season-high winning streak to six matches and became the 10th team in school history with 15 victories. Koral Gibson had a match-high five blocks, while the Falcons (7-13, 5-9) managed just one.
All-Gazette selection Galaszewski matched Firelands’ entire team with 18 kills and three aces, while freshman Kamiah Gibson complemented her setting with four kills and two rejections.
“Molly Galaszewski is a star player, hands down,” Davis said, smiling. “She’s an amazing passer and our best hitter and does everything well, just like our freshman setter. Honestly, Kamiah has exceeded our expectations and is one of the biggest reasons we’re in this position. I can’t wait to see them grow even more next year.”
McKenna Turton paced the Falcons with four kills, while fellow senior Alaina Kempf had seven assists. There were 13 ties and seven lead changes, many of them fueled by Buckeye’s 15 missed serves.
The Bucks’ league losses were against PAC Stripes Division champion Fairview and runner-up Brooklyn. Their final two matches are intradivision clashes with Brookside and Keystone, while they open the postseason against also-ran Clearview.
Only six Buckeye squads have compiled 17-win seasons, but its current edition has a golden opportunity to become the seventh. Their seniors plan on making it happen.
“Honestly, this was like having a second ‘senior night’ because every one of them played so well,” Schuler said. “And of course, Molly is just so steady and Kamiah keeps getting better and better.
“I told the girls at the start of the year to trust me that there was a lot of talent here. All I had to do was some refinement and teaching, so I give them all of the credit.”