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Southmoreland volleyball team a work in progress

| Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, 12:06 a.m.
Sarah Vernon will be a catalyst for Southmoreland this season. (Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier)

Southmoreland's volleyball team is stepping out of its comfort zone.

A new section, along with a change in philosophy, could prove to be a challenging season for coach Sam Coffman and the Scotties.

Because of realignment, Southmoreland moved from Section 4-AA to Section 7-AA. Gone are familiar opponents Charleroi, Derry, Indiana and Greensburg Salem, with Elizabeth Forward, South Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson and West Mifflin becoming new rivals.

“There's maybe three or four teams I'm a bit familiar with, but there are other teams we have no idea what the competition will be like,” Coffman said.

Coffman also will be dealing with a different game plan than he's used to. Because they lack power up front, the Scotties will be more defensive-minded this season.

Southmoreland lost six seniors to graduation and had another starter move to Florida.

“Our strength is going to have to be our quickness and hustle,” Coffman said. “There's nobody really to crush the ball or nobody who can put the ball away. We're going to have to generate offense off our defense. They're going to have to play a whole different type of game. They will have a new identity.”

Senior Sarah Vernon, junior Alex Ledbetter and sophomores Emily Myers and Trisha Bungard are returning players with starting varsity experience.

Coffman said he's looking for Vernon to provide Southmoreland with offense, and he's hoping Bungard can emerge as a hitter this season.

Ledbetter has been trying to recover from an injury, and Coffman said the team needs her to be one of the team's reliable servers, while Myers will be counted on for defense.

“We have to be consistent,” Coffman said. “We can't make a lot of unforced errors.”

Other players expected to contribute are Taylor Millslagle, Brianna Bunner, Cindy Severi, Marimar Gomez and Sami Sarver.

“We're looking at this season as a work in progress,” Coffman said. “There's no real pressure. We're going to look where we're at after every match and try to go from there.”

Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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