Gateway ends Section 4-AAA schedule on a positive note
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Despite not qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs, the Gateway varsity girls volleyball team was able to finish its season on a high note last week, as it went on the road and shut out McKeesport, 3-0.
“Everybody wants to win, and knowing they weren't going to make the playoffs, it was even more important to finish strong,” Gateway head coach Jay Wu said.
“The girls, especially the seniors, realized it was their last game. They wanted to go out with a bang. They wanted to have fun, but they also wanted to play focused and do what they needed to do to get the win.”
The win capped Gateway's season at 7-9 overall and 6-6 in Section 4-AAA behind champion Oakland Catholic, Shaler and Plum.
The Gators were right in the middle of the section standings, as the Gators swept two matches from Penn Hills, Woodland Hills and McKeesport, but were not able to get over the hump in the season series against the three playoff qualifiers from the section.
“Shaler, Oakland Catholic and Plum are good teams, and we have a pretty strong section,” Wu said.
“We struggled with them at times and didn't play our best, but we still played hard and put everything we had into those games. We just fell short. That's sports. It's going to happen. (Shaler, Oakland Catholic and Plum) were the better teams in those matches, but we didn't back down.”
Wu said he was proud of his team throughout the season, both in and out of section play. Gateway also picked up a nonsection win against Franklin Regional.
“The girls went out and did the best they could each night,” Wu said.
The seniors — Allie Briley, Maria Taylor, Brandy Parks, Kayla Aiello and Nicole Benvenuto — played their final matches against McKeesport, and they went out on top.
The group will move on with the knowledge that they were on a team that made the playoffs in 2011, snapping a streak of five straight nonplayoff seasons.
“They definitely helped and trained the younger girls,” Wu said. “That leadership will help the younger girls, and I feel they will step up next year and fill those shoes. The team will still be young, and they have some work to do and some learning to do.”
Briley and Taylor, Wu said, aren't done with volleyball, and continue to pursue playing the sport at the next level.
Wu said both Briley and Taylor are looking into programs at the Division II level.
Only three juniors were on the varsity and JV rosters this year, and five sophomores and seven freshmen were on the roster.
Players such as juniors Gabriella Davis and Kayge Thompson, as well as sophomore Julia Bauccio, Janette Kim and Emily Perry, were contributors on varsity.
“We're still going to be young,” Wu said.
Freshman Angela Toner saw a considerable amount of varsity time as a freshman this season.
“She settled in, and her play improved throughout the season,” Wu said. “She became more of an aggressive player. That can help her next year be a leader for the other young girls.”
Wu said he would like to increase the returning players' level of volleyball play as far as club ball in the offseason, but he knows some of the girls also play other sports during the winter and spring months, and their time is limited.
Briley, an outside hitter, earned first-team All-Section 4-AAA honors this season in a vote of the section's coaches.
Taylor, a middle hitter, was selected to the second team, while Parks and Aiello, a libero and right- side hitter, respectively, were named to the honorable-mention list.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- No tag for Worilds; Steelers cut Moore
- Nasdaq climbs over 5,000 points ... 15 years later
- Arrogant media elites mock Middle America
- Steelers release WR Lance Moore
- Rangers up ante in Metropolitan Division with trade acquisitions
- Penguins notebook: ‘Skill practice’ part of optional workout
- Pirates notebook: Hart ‘down a few days’ after cutting foot
- St. Vincent men, La Roche women open NCAA D-III tourney Friday
- Just for Giggles, FBI tags along, finds more than sports paraphernalia at Pittsburgh store
- Sales, income taxes increases expected in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget