Yet there may not be a better hotspot in this world for high school volleyball. In 2022 they once again laid claim to that distinction. The week before Thanksgiving the Tigers hoisted yet another state championship trophy overhead - their eighth in school history. The girls have now won six, five under head coach Sheila Bancroft.
In the PIAA Class A finals at Cumberland Valley High School they faced a scrappy squad from District 6 - the West Branch Warriors. When the match started it looked as though the Tigers may have found a team that could tame them. Maplewood had only lost one match all season against District 10 rival Cochranton.
The Warriors took advantage of Maplewwods slow start, jumping out to a 7-1 lead in the first set. Bancroft was having none of that and called an early timeout to get her squad settled down. It worked and suddenly it was competitive again, though the Tigers didn't manage to take a lead until, down 22-19, when they ran off five straight points to go ahead.
Maplewood ended up taking the first set 26-24. It was the first set loss for the Warriors in the playoffs.
Wood again started slow in the second set. They twice found themselves down by at least five points, 10-5 and 14-8. After clawing back to a 17-14 deficit, they got hot behind Bailey Varndell's serving. Varndell was ace happy with five during the 10-point Maplewood run that propelled them into the lead and up seven 24-17. The Warriors made it interesting with a four-point run before Bancroft stopped the momentum, again, with a timeout.
Wood took the second set 25-21.
That seemed to be enough to quell the Warriors ability to start quick. The third set was completely dominated by the Tigers who jumped out to a 6-1 lead. The Warriors never got closer than four points and ended up losing to the Tigers 25-11.
The Maplewood girls volleyball state championships have been in 1985, 1992(Bancroft’s first) 1995, 2005 (against Titusville), 2017 and now 2022. They also have second-place finishes in1993, 2000, 2007 and 2009. Bancroft also took the Maplewood boys to a silver medal in 2009. The school’s storied volleyball history also has two boys championship titles in 1989 and 2000 and another silver in 1979.