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Fox Chapel aims for another turnaround in state playoffs

| Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, 11:00 p.m.
The Herald
Fox Chapel senior Carly Slovenec, left, and junior Betsy Slagel. Randy Jarosz | for The Herald

Fox Chapel's girls volleyball team responded positively after having its confidence tested early this season.

The Lady Foxes will need to shrug off disappointment and rise to the challenge again.

After losing 3-1 to Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL Class AAA final on Saturday, Fox Chapel will open the PIAA playoffs against District 6 champion State College at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Central Cambria High School in Ebensburg.

Fox Chapel coach Sara D'Angelo believes her players will be mentally prepared for the state first round game.

“They wanted to win the WPIAL so badly, but we lost Saturday night, and basically you have Sunday to get over it,” D'Angelo said. “They came into practice (on Monday) motivated. They were laughing and happy. That made me happy.”

Fox Chapel has rallied before.

The Lady Foxes started Section 3 play with a 1-3 record. Then, they won their final eight section matches and avenged losses to Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland and North Allegheny.

Fox Chapel earned the No. 3 seed in the WPIAL playoffs and advanced to the final.

The return of senior right-side hitter Riley Herrmann to the lineup about midway through section play seemed to give Fox Chapel the lift it needed. Herrmann, a 6-foot left-hander, missed her entire junior season and the beginning of her senior year recovering from ACL surgery.

In Herrmann's absence, 6-foot freshman Ana Spangenberg played well at right-side hitter, but Herrmann's experience is a major bonus, D'Angelo said.

Fox Chapel also starts seniors Sarah Bradley (middle hitter), Alyson Hess (setter), Marcy Meinert (defensive specialist/libero), Carly Slovenec (middle hitter), and juniors Megan Hollingsworth (outside hitter) and Michaela Patsko (outside hitter).

Hess plans to continue her volleyball career at Division III Bethany College, D'Angelo said.

Fox Chapel hasn't crossed paths with State College at a tournament this season.

But D'Angelo graduated from Northern Cambria High School, which is about 60 miles west of State College, and that helped her conduct research on the Little Lions.

“I'm from that area, so I know some people who have played State College,” D'Angelo said.

The Fox Chapel/State College winner will take on either District 10 champion Erie McDowell or North Allegheny, which finished third in the WPIAL, in Saturday's state quarterfinals.

Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at pkogut@tribweb.com or 724-224-2696.

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