Pine-Richland volleyball coach looks back on season
When Dave Neely took over the Pine-Richland volleyball coaching position, his goal was to turn it into a successful program. The team took strides, making back-to-back playoff appearances in Neely's first two seasons.
“We came into this season with pretty big expectations,” Neely said.
The expectations were justified with the return of Kevin Kunkel, Alan Jacks and Mike Jones. The addition of a couple more basketball players in middles Sam Dunsmore and Tim Williams gave Neely a well-rounded team that battled almost every match to five sets.
Senior Nate Roberts was a solid right-side hitter who had some big blocks this season on some good opponents.
“If Tim and Sam had started earlier, they would probably have received college offers,” Neely said. “Every match (except against North Allegheny) was close.”
Neely got contributions from sophomores Tommy Barone and Joe Clark as well as junior letter winner Jared Todoroski. Nick Langer is an impact player who started his career in the middle but moved to the back row to accommodate the new influx of talent.
“Jared will probably be an outside hitter next year,” Neely said. “He is progressing and is playing club volleyball.”
Mike Pohlod had a nice run in the playoffs with nine of 10 serves netting points. James Kozej is an athletic player who will play a big part on the team moving forward.
“We will be looking for some more big middles to come in,” Neely said.
Neely feels good about the core coming back but said some pieces still need to be fit into place.
“I am still looking for some new guys to emerge, but we have to continue to work together,” Neely said.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.