Latrobe volleyball rebuilds under 1st-year coach
For the first time in seven seasons, the Latrobe girls volleyball team will not compete at the WPIAL playoffs.
Rebuilding under first-year coach Jordan Zeunges, the Wildcats, went 4-8 in Section 1-AAA, and did not qualify as the sixth-place team. Only the top three teams — Penn-Trafford (11-1), Norwin (9-3) and Hempfield (7-5) — advanced.
“We got off to a great start, but lacked consistency,” said Zeunges, who took over after Jenny Feiertag retired. “We had our growing pains.”
Senior Amy Kaszycki was not surprised the team stumbled.
“We lost six seniors (to graduation), five of them starters,” Kaszycki said. “It was going to be a rough year no matter who coached.
“We made the best of it.”
Kaszycki and seniors April Krivoniak and Liz Ritenour were Latrobe's top players.
Krivoniak, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter and back row player, had 10 or more kills every game, Zeunges said.
Kaszycki was among the leaders in digs as an outside hitter and back row player.
Ritenour returned as a defensive specialist after missing last season with a knee injury.
Sophomore Kennady Grajtak showed promise as an outside hitter and back row player.
“This is Kennady's second year playing volleyball,” Zeunges said. “She has a great vertical leap and is very versatile, with a good attitude to match.
“She is eager to learn.”
Kaszycki also was impressed with Grajtak.
“She's going to be a good one,” she said. “I'd like to work with her and encourage her.”
Zeunges said there are multi-sport athletes on the junior varsity who also look promising.
“The program will be OK,” said Zeunges, 23. “I was new to the players and they were new to me.
“We should do better next season when we're more familiar with each other.”
Kaszycki predicted a bright future, as well.
“The younger players learned a lot from us seniors,” she said. “I like to think we left a good legacy.”
Since 2007, the Wildcats have been section champion or co-champion four times.
They were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs five of the last six years.
Last year, they were shut out by Upper St. Clair, 3-0, in the first round.
They finished third in the section to Penn-Trafford and Kiski a year ago.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.