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Plum volleyball team optimistic heading into second half of schedule

| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
Plum Advance Leader
Sophomore middle hitter Rachel Satira follows through on a kill during a Section 4-AAA game against Shaler on Sept. 6, 2012. Gary Bills | Plum Advance Leader

The Plum varsity volleyball team beat Gateway, 3-0, last Thursday to improve to 5-0 in Section 4-AAA play.

With an entire half of the section slate to go, the Mustangs want to finish strong in their drive to a section title.

“We have a bunch of really talented girls this year, and I hope we can go far,” Plum senior outside hitter Maria Daugherty said.

Daugherty and the rest of the team want to get in the WPIAL playoffs and be able to break a streak of seven straight first-round losses.

The Mustangs host McKeesport on Thursday and travel to Shaler this Tuesday for a rematch of a five-set thriller won by Plum on Sept. 6.

“We always are focused one match at a time and never overlook anyone,” Daugherty said.

“Shaler is such a strong team, and they will be ready for us.”

Plum was scheduled to put its undefeated section record on the line Wednesday at Oakland Catholic, and the Eagles also entered the match undefeated in section play.

The match was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.

“As a team, we have room to grow, and we are going to push ourselves to be the best,” senior outside hitter Alyssa Samarco said.

“We're not satisfied with where we are.”

Against Gateway, Plum jumped out to a 9-2 lead in game one on a combination of good offense and Gateway miscues.

Gateway got to within four at 18-14, but the Mustangs put the first game away at 25-18.

In game two, Samarco ended a 25-15 victory with a kill that beat a Gateway block attempt.

Gateway held an 11-9 advantage in game three, but Plum rallied for seven straight points for a 16-11 lead.

The Mustangs posted a 13-2 run overall since being down 11-9.

“I think we kind of started out slow each game,” Plum head coach Kory Flaherty said. “But we understood there were things we needed to adjust, and we did a good job of that.”

Coach Flaherty said he continually is pleased with the depth of the rotation as the season rolls on.

“I like where our team's at,” he said. “I used 13 girls in the third game (against Gateway). That's something I've never done before. That speaks volumes of what I think about the girls coming off the bench. The younger girls are coming up and fighting for playing time.”

Plum played WPIAL Class AAA power Peters Township on Monday, and the Mustangs suffered a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Indians.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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