Penn State Fayette volleyball team expects to extend dominance
College Football Videos
For half of decade, the Penn State Fayette women's volleyball team has been the class of the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference, and coach Nancy Wheeler doesn't expect that to change.
“We want to win the conference, first and foremost,” Wheeler said. “If we win the conference, we automatically go to (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) nationals.”
Winning the conference and going to nationals has not been a problem for the Roaring Lions. Wheeler, who has been named PSUAC Coach of the Year for five straight seasons, has guided Penn State Fayette to five straight PSUAC titles. Penn State Fayette also expects to be in the mix for a national title this year.
“At nationals, we've always been around fifth place,” Wheeler said. “This year, we'd like to finish in the top four.”
The USCAA national tournament will be held in November at SUNY-Canton in New York. However, before the Roaring Lions punch their ticket to nationals, they know a lot of work has to be done.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Roaring Lions is replacing standout outside hitter Leah Ambrosini, who graduated as the school's all-time kill leader.
“It's hard to replace Ambrosini as an athlete and a student, but being that she is now on our coaching staff, it's a smooth transition and it helps with team chemistry,” Wheeler said.
Also joining Wheeler's staff is former Connellsville coach Stacey Domer, who Wheeler credits with helping to strengthen the team's defensive play.
The Roaring Lions will have to rely more on defense.
“Our defense is much better,” Wheeler said. “That's our biggest strength.”
Connellsville graduate Caitlyn Williams will be a fixture as a defensive specialist during her freshman season. Freshman Christine Bruno is a libero who has also helped to bolster the defense.
Juniors Samantha Helmantoler, Janelle Cooper, Emily Caldwell and Katlyn Salisbury will be doing the majority of the attacking from the various hitting positions. Junior Emily Konter is the starting setter. Konter, Helmantoler, Cooper, Caldwell and Salisbury are returning letter-winners with championship experience.
“Experience here is huge,” Wheeler said. “Our five returners are all juniors, and that's a great nucleus.”
The rest of the team is comprised of freshmen, including Frazier graduate Megan Manack, who should add depth at right side hitter.
The Roaring Lions started the season by playing a grueling exhibition schedule, which Wheeler hopes will help the team during conference play. Penn State Fayette boasts a 7-5 record, including a 1-0 mark in the PSUAC.
“We always start out with a tough schedule,” Wheeler said. “It prepares us for nationals at the end of the season, if we make it, which we are expecting.”
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.