Junior class fronting leadership roles for Gateway squad
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Most teams rely on their senior class for leadership and direction.
But for a team without any 12th graders on its roster, the Gateway boys volleyball team will depend on its junior class to be the leaders this season.
Juniors Matt Davis and Rob English headline that class and return as the team's most experienced players from a team that went 2-10 in WPIAL Section 3-AAA last season.
“(They bring) a lot of leadership and a lot of direction to mold the team,” Gateway head coach Jay Wu said.
“We have to lead by example and just show them to go out there with intensity and teach them how to play the game right,” Davis said of the Gators' younger players.
Davis and English are joined by fellow juniors and first-year players Jasano Brooks and outside hitter Taylor Nemanic as the team's oldest players.
“He (Jasano) will bring a lot of height and power to the team,” Wu said.
Several sophomores will be required to step into starting roles this season including Joey Klonicki, setter Nate Cain and middle hitter Anthony Benvenuto.
They will attempt to try and fill some of the void left by last year's seven departing seniors, and the team is confident in their ability.
“They've got a lot of talent and skill,” Wu said. “There's plenty of room to grow.”
With the season still in its early stages, the Gators are still trying to gel together as a team and get some of their younger players accustomed to the speed of the varsity game.
“Right now, we're still working on our serving, improving our teamwork together, just getting used to each other because we haven't gelled together yet completely,” Davis said.
Gateway dropped its season opener to Section 3-AAA foe Latrobe, 3-0, but was still able to take some positives away from the defeat.
“They were a lot bigger than we were, they definitely had more height,” Davis said of Latrobe. “But we were able to block them very well considering their height and our height.”
So while they might be a bit under the radar for now, the young Gators are looking to continue to improve and hope to become a better team as the season progresses.
“If we keep improving every game and meeting our full potential, we can definitely be a threat,” Davis said.
Gateway fell to Penn-Trafford, 3-0, in section last week.
The Gators faced section rival Norwin on Tuesday in a game that was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition. They host Hempfield in section play Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
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.