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Section champion Seton-La Salle girls volleyball team goes on offensive

| Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 10:05 p.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Toni Torchia, a Seton-La Salle volleyball player, warms up at Seton-La Salle gym, Wedensday, Sept. 25, 2013.

Shelby Williams and sisters Brianne and Nicole Colligan are part of a band called “In Shambles,” a quartet of high school girls covering songs like Taylor Swift's “Ours” and “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves.

With the way the Seton-La Salle girls volleyball team has treated its opponents this season, other WPIAL teams may be wishing the group hits it big — and soon.

The Rebels have clinched the Section 6-AA title by dropping only two sets in nine matches, all wins, as Williams has teamed with fellow setter Michelle Sanders to feed a lineup of hungry, heavy hitters.

While none will outswing Knoch's Celina Sanks or Freeport's Alexis Schrecengost, a pair of all-state performers in 2012, Seton-La Salle has a lineup that's deep and difficult to defend.

“We can spread it around,” second-year coach Kevin Hummert said. “We've had eight or nine different matches where it's been a different leader in kills.”

That group includes Colligan, a senior middle hitter; twins Tia and Toni Torchia, both senior outside hitters; junior middle hitter Morgan Henderson; and junior middle/right side hitter Laura Nath.

“It can definitely be a big threat if we're getting kills,” Colligan said. “But our defense and passers have also been really good.”

Toni Torchia leads the group with 153 kills. Lindsey Farley has 101 digs, and Sanders is the group's assists leader at 380 through 17 matches (14 wins).

Colligan has accumulated a team-high 66 blocks, and Julianna Ross has 72 aces.

Williams has been a particularly pleasant surprise — and not because her work playing guitar, piano and ukulele in a group that performed at a volleyball fundraiser this summer at Roland's Seafood Grill in the Strip District.

Playing a significant setting role for the first time in her varsity career, Williams has been outstanding in helping to keep all of those hitters happy.

“Most of it is my consistency,” Williams said. “The best way for me to work on that was reps.”

Which she certainly gets with someone like Henderson, a transfer from Texas and someone who's still a raw volleyball talent, according to Hummert.

“She doesn't have a ton of experience, but she puts up a nice block,” Hummert said. “When she does get a hold of the ball, she's probably our best hitter.”

Seton-La Salle finished second in the section last year, won a preliminary-round game against Knoch and reached the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals.

Williams hopes to add a few more verses to that song.

“Now that we made it a good way into the playoffs last year, I think we have a much higher chance in the eyes of the WPIAL,” Williams said. “I think our team is going to be even more successful than we were last year.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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