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Ligonier Valley volleyball team boasts plenty of depth, youth

| Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
Latrobe girls volleyball player Lizz Ritenour at practice on Thursday, August 30, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Latrobe girls volleyball player April Krivoniak at practice on Thursday, August 30, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Latrobe girls volleyball player Amy Kaszycki at practice on Thursday, August 30, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Ligonier Valley girls volleyball coach Amy McLaughlin will have no issues with depth when her team returns to the court this week.

Ligonier Valley — which finished 11-9 and reached the second round of the District 6 Double-A playoffs last year — has seven returning lettermen and a slew of underclassmen who are expected to push for time.

“We do have some younger players from the junior high program that won the Heritage Conference two years in a row that are starting to filter up this year,” McLaughlin said. “All of the young talent coming up will push the upperclassmen to really secure their spots to work harder.

“It will, overall, improve the team.”

Although McLaughlin has her starting six set, she said there is a definite possibility of having other players step up and contribute immediately.

Her current starting lineup features seniors Kyra Ludwic, Tabor Hall and Jeanne Markosky; juniors Amanda Ross and Rachel Wallace; and sophomore Becca Kromel.

Pressing for starting positions are seniors Courtney Lear, Hannah Kapel and Katie Shomo; junior Taylor Rudnik; sophomores Hannah Yeskey and Madison McLaughlin; and freshman Shelbi Shearer. McLaughlin said all the talent on the roster has made for intense, productive practices.

“It's forcing the girls to realize that even coming back into positions from last year, they're going to have to step it up to secure the spots with the young talent coming up,” she said. “The girls are constantly pushing themselves to go higher and higher and meet their goals at practice. Once we meet them we go to the next step.”

Not cracking the starting rotation has not been an issue for bench players — McLaughlin said the camaraderie in the locker room has been positive since camp opened.

“Basically they were all told the first day of camp, we have to put the best six on the floor and they have to earn their spots,” McLaughlin said. “Not all of them will be in a position to see floor time with talent coming up. They understand their role as far as floor time and positions and they are supportive of playing the best kids.”

With a roster loaded full of talent, McLaughlin has her team's goals set high. After reaching the playoffs the past two seasons, it's easy to see why the expectations surrounding the group continue to grow.

“We'd again like to make it to the playoffs for the third straight year and finish in the top of our conference,” she said. “We still have three teams ahead of us that have finished ahead of us in Northern Cambria, Penns Manor and Marion Center, but I think we'll be strong.”

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