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Trib Cup: Fox Chapel girls volleyball among WPIAL title contenders

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Class AAAA

1. Peters Township 71

2. Penn-Trafford 67

3. North Allegheny 50

4. Mt. Lebanon 46

5t. Bethel Park 44

5t. Upper St. Clair 44

7. Fox Chapel 43

8. Seneca Valley 40

9. Pine-Richland 39

10t. Gateway 33

10t. Norwin 33

Class AAA

1. Central Valley 70

2. Quaker Valley 59

3. Mars 53

4. South Park 47

5. Hopewell 42

6. South Fayette 37

7. Knoch 35

8. Thomas Jefferson 33

9t. Beaver 32

9t. Belle Vernon 32

9t. Elizabeth Forward 32

9t. Indiana 32

Class AA

1. Greensburg C.C. 50

2. Shady Side Acad. 49

3. Bishop Canevin 43

4. Seton-La Salle 39

5. Bentworth 35

6. Neshannock 32

7. Avonworth 31

8. South Allegheny 28

9t. Burrell 27

9t. Chartiers-Houston 27

Class A

1. Sewickley Academy 64

2. Serra Catholic 32

3t. Riverview 30

3t. Springdale 30

5. OLSH 28

6. Vincentian 23

7. California 20

8. Frazier 18

9t. Ellis School 17

9t. Geibel 17

9t. Rochester 17


Section victories: 1 point

Playoff berth: 1

Playoff victory: 2

WPIAL/PIAA runner-up: 5/15

WPIAL/PIAA title: 10/20

Results for football, soccer, volleyball, plus postseason results for all fall sports prior to Thursday.

+ Classification based on PIAA enrollment figures.

Top high school sports
By Brian Graham
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 11:00 p.m.

Fox Chapel's move to Section 3 in Class AAA girls volleyball brought a difficult slate of games and a surprising win total.

The Foxes have won 15 straight games, including Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Canon-McMillan in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs, where Fox Chapel (10-3) earned the No. 3 seed behind Oakland Catholic and North Allegheny.

“It's been a very rewarding season as a coach, that's for sure,” coach Sara D'Angelo said. “I've been with these girls for three years. A lot played as freshmen and sophomores, so to see them get to this point is rewarding.”

The spotlight is on the Foxes in this week's Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award feature. The girls volleyball team and its impressive win streak is a primary reason why Fox Chapel High school is in seventh place in the Class AAAA standings.

“I think we had an, I don't want to say a surprising season, but I think we surprised some people,” D'Angelo said.

“I think we won some games people thought we wouldn't have coming into the season.”

This season, the Foxes shocked everyone but themselves when they topped perennial powers North Allegheny, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley, who became section opponents this year.

They finished tied for second with Pine-Richland, both with 9-3 records. North Allegheny went 10-2 to win the section title.

Fox Chapel ended the season ranked ninth in the state by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.

Defeating such talented teams is something D'Angelo didn't expect, but also didn't surprise her.

“I coached two years at Plum, and this is my third year at Fox Chapel,” she said. “When we beat all three of those teams, it was unexpected if you look at previous times we've played them.”

What the Foxes lack in size on the court, they make up for with an inherent ability to control the tempo of the game and frustrate the opposition.

“I think what we lack in height, we make up in ball control,” D'Angelo said. “Our defense is good, service and passing is good. We control the ball and the pace of the game, and it definitely can frustrate a team trying to get a kill every time they touch the ball.”

It starts with senior libero Marcy Meinert — a three-year starter and one of the Foxes' most consistent players — and senior setter Alyson Hess.

Senior middle hitters Sarah Bradley and Carly Slovenec have manned the net to near perfection and have provided digs and kills at opportune times throughout the season. Senior right-side hitter Riley Herrmann tore each of her ACLs in the past two seasons but has provided a huge boost since her midseason return.

“I think our biggest strength is our ability to play as a team,” D'Angelo said. “We have the ability to where if we are weak somewhere, we make up in strengths elsewhere.

“We have a great balancing act as a team. The girls have a great chemistry.”

A scary thought for WPIAL championship contenders could be what the Foxes have on the bench. A strong class of juniors in Betsy Slagle, Megan Holingsworth and Michaela Patsko have contributed throughout the season and have plenty of postseason experience.

“I think after this season it's nice because I have freshmen I called up to varsity this year,” D'Angelo said. “They've experienced something, and once you've been through playoffs and tough practices and big games you have that little bit of experience.”

Fox Chapel will play Upper St. Clair in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals Tuesday at a site and time that has yet to be determined.

Brian Graham is a freelance writer.



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