Shaler has a young, exciting girls volleyball squad, but the inexperience caught up with the team in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs in a 3-2 loss to Upper St. Clair.
Shaler jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a 25-16 decision sparked by a four-point run by sophomore Annie Bozzo that pushed the score to 13-6 in Shaler's favor.
Upper St. Clair took the next two sets, 25-20, 25-21.
“We are a very young team and inconsistent at times,” Bozzo said. “We play well at times, but we can get down, too. I learned that I have to do a better job of keeping the team up.”
Shaler refused to quit in the fourth set after trailing, 3-0, and rallied for a 25-23 win. The key to the late surge was the furious play of Lizzy Kline, who seemed to be everywhere. Bozzo, Kline, Nicole and Natalie Pilewski, Liz Rhodes, Sydney Golden, among others, played a role in the rally.
“We just got caught with a couple of breaks in Game 5, and we didn't serve/receive well (against USC),” Shaler coach Kris Ruppert said. “We are usually much better than that, and when you can't serve/receive, you are in trouble.”
She's confident in the team, and with almost all of the players returning, the personal is there to make a deep run next year.
But she added: “We are running out of next years. We have to put up or shut up.”
Seniors Sydney Golden, Angie LaMonica and Lexi Schwartz will graduate, leaving the core of the team intact.
“We will miss them,” Ruppert said. “But we will have almost everyone back, so we have to make a deeper run.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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