When the final point of the Class 4A state championship match hit the floor and her Arundel Wildcats were finally champions, coach Ashley Yuscavage was overcome with emotion. It was totally understandable. It had been a long ride.
In her 12 seasons at the schools, the Wildcats has been to the state semifinals five times, losing in the final three times.
“It was one of the best nights of my life,” said Yuscavage, whose Wildcats posted a 19-1 record this season. “I knew we’d be good [when the season started], but no one else was paying attention. This was a special group, and they made it happen.”
Yuscavage grew up in the Pittsburgh area, and played volleyball at Division III Dickinson. She came to Arundel and gradually built the program into a powerhouse.
“The day we made cuts, I told them ‘we’re going to win the state championship.’ My assistant coach just looked at me, but I looked back at her and said ‘Yes, I said it,’” said Yuscavage, whose record at Arundel is 183-47. “I felt really strongly about it.”
Yuscavage said a loss to rival Broadneck in the county championship game may have actually benefited her team. Arundel went on to beat the Bruins in the state championship.
“It gave us a chance to examine where we were, and where we wanted to go,” said Yuscavage. “Everything came together, and they made it happen.”