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Seton-La Salle, Thomas Jefferson netters split season series

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The South Hills Record
Thomas Jefferson vb player (#6)
Randy Jarosz | For The South Hills Record
Seton-La Salle vb player (#23)

It was a match between to local teams that had major section implications.

Seton-La Salle edged Thomas Jefferson's boys' volleyball team, 3-1, in a Section 3-AA match held last week at TJ.

Thomas Jefferson captured the first game, 25-20, before the Rebels rallied to three straight wins in the second, third and fourth games.

“It was a nice win for the team,” Mark Felbinger, Seton-La Salle's head coach, said. “Eric Marasco led the team in kills, and Elijah Barrett had a great game in the back row.

“It was certainly some of the best volleyball that we have played this season.”

Seton-La Salle's starting rotation normally consists of junior Dan Leehan, at setter; Barrett, a senior libero; Marasco, a senior, and sophomore Chad Murphy, at outside hitter; sophomores Nick Pazuchanics and Ben Grefenstette, at middle hitter; and sophomores Justin Girouard and John Kist, at right-side hitter.

Key reserves include sophomores Tereeq Smith, a libero; Dan Jesserer, an outside hitter; and Gavin Ennis, an outside hitter/right-side hitter.

With the win, the Rebels improved to 5-2, stayed in contention for a possible section title, and split the two-match series with the Jaguars this year.

Thomas Jefferson topped Seton-La Salle by the same 3-1 score earlier in the season.

“Looking forward, we are hoping to continue to improve and be more competitive in the section,” Felbinger said.

While Seton-La Salle is a sophomore-laden squad, the Jaguars' lineup is dominated by juniors.

There are eight juniors on the varsity roster, including setter Luke Good, middle hitter Adam Patrick, outside hitters Gabe Cappetta, Don Meucci, Ben Miscavage, Chris Serrao and Ryne Surgot, and defensive specialist Robert Schwartz.

Senior leadership is provided by middle hitter Adam Miller and outside hitter Quinton Gardner.

Top underclassmen include sophomores Craig Bourgeois, a defensive specialist; and Sam Mason, a libero/setter; and freshman Jared Kelly, a defensive specialist.

At the start of this week, Keystone Oaks (7-0) stood in first place in the section, followed by Seton-La Salle, Thomas Jefferson (4-3), South Park (3-4), Trinity (2-5) and Steel Valley (0-7).

Seton-La Salle is scheduled to play at South Park tonight, Thursday, before ending its regular season Tuesday at home against Keystone Oaks.

The Rebels moved into the eighth spot in Class AA in the MSA Sports Network's weekly top 10, while Thomas Jefferson fell out of the rankings.

Thomas Jefferson is slated to visit Keystone Oaks tonight, Thursday, and host Steel Valley on Tuesday.

Jaguars rebound against Trinity, 3-2

Thomas Jefferson recovered from its close loss to Seton-La Salle by edging Trinity, 3-2, last week

“We had a close game at Trinity,” Frank Staffen, Thomas Jefferson's head coach, said. “We are currently playing with two starters out. Sam Mason (at) libero and Adam Miller (at) middle hitter. Sam might be back come playoff time and Adam should be returning soon.

“Right now, we are trying to get through the season with all the injuries and sickness, and be able to make it the playoffs. Hopefully come playoff time, we should be at full strength. We have two freshman that have been improving each week with Jared Kelly and Andrew Aul. They helped replace Sam Mason.”

According to the Jaguars' veteran head coach, senior outside hitter Quinton Gardner had a breakout game against Trinity.

“That helped us, especially since Adam Miller has been out,” Staffen said. “We made some switches halfway throught the season which should make us a stronger team, but it is hard to evaluate the moves with two starters missing.

“I'm hoping to have Adam Miller back (this week) for the South Park game and Keystone Oaks game. Sam probably won't be ready until playoffs.

Players such as Quinton Gardner, Adam Patrick, Ben Miscavage and Chris Serrao have been stepping up their game in Miller's absence.

“Robert Schwartz and Craig Bourgeois also been helping with Sam Mason out,” Staffen said. “Gabe Cappetta has stepped up and played outside and middle with the absent of Adam Miller.

“Luke Good has been running the show as setter and really has done an amazing job getting the hitters the ball especially with Sam Mason out.”

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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