Six counties, 250 miles, almost four and half hours in the car.

Seven counties, 316 miles, almost five hours in the car.

The Philipsburg-Osceola volleyball team has had a long road to the state title game — literally.

The Lady Mounties are one of just two teams in the PIAA playoffs to not have had a home game during their run.

The other? Sacred Heart Academy in Class A, which lost in five sets Tuesday night to Marian Catholic.

Of course, both of their trips were less than 83 miles a piece.

While the volleyball team has shaken off the adversity of having to travel long distances, winning in four sets over North Catholic in the state semis and in five over Maplewood prior to that in the quarters, they haven’t been alone.

Despite all of the restrictions in place with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lady Mounties have had the max amount of fans at each of their last two games.

That doesn’t even include the amount that showed up at the Altoona Fieldhouse to watch the team win its first District 6 title since 2013.

“It helps so much, especially since our fans are so good at traveling,” said junior hitter London Cutler. “Everyone comes no matter where it is.

“It’s just great to know that we have such supportive people behind us.”

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The Lady Mounties haven’t played at home since a District 6 Class AA semifinal victory over Northern Cambria on Nov. 6.

Since then the team has been to opposite ends of the Western side of the state, going as far as Crawford County to play District 10 champ Maplewood and Butler County to face District 7 champion North Catholic.

The PIAA implemented a no neutral site rule before the playoffs started in an attempt to curb the spreading of coronavirus.

Every team but P-O and Sacred Heart were able to host, but teams like North Catholic and Trinity, which the Lady Mounties play on Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School, got to host twice.

That situation wasn’t lost on the Lady Mountie faithful who traveled to Cranberry Township on Tuesday night in the first snow storm for much of the region.

“I can’t say enough about the fans,” said P-O head coach Dave Eckberg. “We get allotted so many tickets for each game, and they take every single one. It’s been a challenge having to travel, but the girls appreciate the fans showing up and cheering them on.”

Eckberg said after the five-set thriller with Maplewood, that the fans really helped the girls find that extra gear to pull out the win.

“We had 62 tickets and there were all of those 62 people there,” he said. “I’m just glad that they got to see the show.”

Now there is just one final trip left for the team and their fans.

Six counties, 246 miles, another four-plus hours in the car.

Shots at gold medals don’t come easy, especially when you’re taking the long way around.

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