Lady Talbots return experienced core to go with new coach
Although being a little undersized kept him from playing college volleyball, former North Allegheny player Brian Tevis still is having an impact on the local volleyball scene.
While a student at North Allegheny, he helped the team win WPIAL championships. Now, he is hoping to get the Hampton Lady Talbots squad to that point some day, as he has taken over for Dave Neeley, who took over the Pine-Richland boys squad.
Tevis just happened to meet Neeley while attending California (Pa.). Neeley asked the former NA player about coaching, and the rest is history.
“Dave got me the eighth grade coaching job at Hampton, then he asked me to move up to JV,” Tevis said.
“When he moved on to Pine-Richland, I interviewed for the varsity job and got it.”
Tevis has a nice core of returning talent he hopes can compete with perennial powers Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and North Allegheny.
The talent begins with a pair of junior middle hitters in Leeanne Disco and Olivia Wastchak. Junior libero Anne Cully is back to help the defense, and junior setter Amanda Hedges will be a key player, as well.
Sophomore Courtney Collins also will play at the setter position.
Three seniors will help round out the core, as middles Katie Viorstek, Paige Paskorz and Sierra Downing give Tevis versatility in the middle.
Hannah Troup and transfer defensive specialist Sarah Pregmon also figure to help the win total increase this season.
“We have a lot of returning players and skill in the middle, but some of the younger players still need some experience,” he said. “We will need to hustle because we do not have a super-tall team, but I am stressing to keep the ball up no matter what.”
Tevis is encouraged by the play of the defense and the way the team is passing so far in game action.
Although fundamentally sound play is important, Tevis said that having fun and playing with energy will help this team compete.
“We have to play as a team, play within our boundaries and don't dwell on errors,” Tevis said.
“We play in a section with some of the best teams in the state — you can't win every point.”
Tevis also expects a group of junior varisty players from last year to help.
He said Lauren Beran, Juliana Caricato, Paige Whistler, Abbey Griffith, Alana Mazzei and Mikey Riley will help out on the outside and defense especially as the season unfolds.
Tevis is not worried about winning every point, but he would like to win enough to lead his team to the playoffs.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-779-6979