Trib Cup: OLSH girls volleyball team again leading Section 4

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 10:27 p.m.

After rolling through last regular season undefeated, the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart girls volleyball team again finds itself atop the WPIAL Section 4-A standings.

But coach Mike McDonald is not getting complacent.

After losing a close match in last year's WPIAL semifinals to Bishop Canevin, he is pushing his team to return to that point again in 2013.

But in order to do that the Chargers need to improve on two major aspects of the game.

“If we're that close, obviously we're close enough to have a shot at winning a championship and that's where we want to be,” McDonald said.

“If we don't become a better passing team, we will not get to the finals, that's a definite. We have to be a better passing team, and we have to be a better defensive team in the backcourt. If we improve in those two areas I think we have a shot to get to the finals.”

After losing two starters from last year's team that ultimately fell to Greensburg Central Catholic in the second round of the PIAA playoffs, OLSH (6-0, 4-0 entering Thursday night's game against Northgate) is led this season by senior middle hitter Lexie Yoho and senior outside hitter Tia Sciulli.

A four-year starter, as well as an all-WPIAL and all-state selection last season, Yoho leads the Chargers in kills, blocks and hitting percentage. She averages 17-18 kills per match.

“She has the most experience on our team,” McDonald said. “She's played a lot of volleyball away from school, as well playing club ball. I don't have that many club ball players, so any time we have one that plays a lot of volleyball is certainly a help to us.”

Sciulli leads OLSH in digs with nearly 10 per match and, according to McDonald, she and Yoho are the Chargers' two most important players.

“Those are probably our two key players that we would have difficulty if we had to play without them,” he said. “The other girls do a great job, they fill their roles. They're playing at a level that allows us to get some production from them as well.”

In addition to Yoho and Sciulli, senior setter Raquel Hewitt and Moon transfer Meghan Taylor have been two players to step up for OLSH. Hewitt leads the Chargers in assists, registering close to 20 per match.

While the regular season is still not even half over, McDonald said he expected his team's strong start but reiterated the Chargers can continue to improve throughout the second half as the postseason draws near.

“We can get a lot better,” he said. “We're definitely not a juggernaut by any means. We can get a lot better as a group, we really can.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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