Youth the theme this year for Ford City volleyball
By Bill West
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, 12:03 a.m.
It's the year of the youngster for Ford City girls volleyball.
First-year coach Courtney Kovatch, a 2004 Kittanning graduate, and assistant Jill Emberg, a 2007 Kittanning graduate, lead a group of Sabers that will rely on underclassmen in critical moments.
But all that youth does not spell doom for Ford City, which lost just one full-time starter to graduation. The Sabers will grow stronger and smarter in time, but they consider themselves ready to go
The most energized and vocal among them are sophomores.
“That entire sophomore class is like our rock, basically,” Kovatch said.
Sophomore Christina Davis serves as the team leader after starting at middle hitter a season ago. To an extent, she's picking up where her older sister Heather, a 2012 graduate, left off.
Davis entered the spotlight last season after Heather went down with a season-ending leg injury during the second day of practice. Her height (5-foot-7) and athleticism earned respect. And her confidence, even as a freshman, allowed her to remain comfortable when she shouldered greater responsibilities.
“Sometimes I just want to have someone else do it, so it comes with stress, I guess,” Davis said. “But I just get over it.”
Seniors Maranda Arblaster and Krista Klukan also possess some authority among the Sabers, as both are returning starters. They're willing to speak up when necessary, but they're fine with stepping aside, too.
“It makes me feel good,” Klukan said. “They're younger, and they're leading the team with me.”
Arblaster and Davis will rotate at setter, with the latter of the two also playing outside or middle hitter. Klukan is Ford City's tallest middle hitter at 5-9.
Other frontcourt contributors include junior Sarah Heddinger, sophomore Stephanie DiGregorio and sophomore Blair Willyard.
Kovatch has given Davis, Heddinger and DiGregorio the freedom to decide their positions when they occupy the front row.
“They're very strong, and they're very smart,” Kovatch said. “I told them that right now, I'll leave it up to them. They all have different plays that they want to do, and that's fine. They can do that until we see that it's not working, and then we'll have to stick to our positions. But right now, they're strong all around.”
Junior Andrea DiGregorio and sophomore Karlee Smith solidify the back row. DiGregorio is a returning starter, and Smith enters the mix after missing her freshman year due to shoulder surgery.
A young lineup, particularly one without a 6-foot hitter, isn't likely to intimidate opponents in Section 3-AA or elsewhere. The plan is to surprise foes.
“Last year, we were all new (to varsity play),” Klukan said. “And now, we're really clicking.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303, Ext. 1321.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Pirates notebook: Wandy Rodriguez experiencing decline in fastball velocity
- Pitt wraps up spring football practice with closeness, competition
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Obama, Biden to announce $500M for job training grants during W.Pa. visit
- Pirates conclude wild suspended game with win, drop 2nd of series
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- Lawsuit against Frazer policeman, township moved to federal court