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Norwin volleyball looks to pick up intensity

| Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

As the postseason approaches, the Norwin volleyball team is enjoying another successful season.

But the Knights (10-2, 9-1 3-AAA), who clinched a postseason berth for the fourth straight season, look different than the team that finished second in the WPIAL and third in the state in 2012.

That team, which routinely celebrated its successes on the court, has given way to a more reserved bunch.

And that's enough to drive coach Al Warden “a little nuts” sometimes.

“They don't get real high (or) real low,” Warden said. “I'd like to see a little more enthusiasm, a little noise, but that's the way they are. Sometimes it's drove me just bonkers that they don't celebrate when they do well. They're just even-keeled.”

The celebration factor might not be integral to on-court success, but senior Nck Idele said it can act as a pick-me-up.

“It definitely just makes people go for balls more,” he said. “(It helps them) pass better, hit better — all of that.”

The intensity void came about partly because of the graduation of five seniors from last year's team.

“I just think nobody else wants to be like that,” Idele said.

But players said the Knights have it in them to be just as intense as their predecessors. They said five-set battles against Latrobe and Penn-Trafford brought out the best in the team.

“We've shown it at points, but we don't do it constantly like we did last year,” senior Mitch Farabaugh said.

Intensity likely won't be a problem for Norwin on Thursday night as the Knights visit Penn-Trafford in a rematch of their only section loss from earlier this season.

“I just think we missed an opportunity,” Warden said. “It was at our place, they had a guy out, we carried Games 2 and 3. (We) lost some momentum at the end of Game 3, P-T picked up the momentum and took it home.”

Thursday's match could decide the section champion as Penn-Trafford dropped its first section match of the season last week, 3-2, to Plum. Norwin, which beat Penn Hills and Plum last week, was scheduled to host Latrobe on Tuesday. The match ended past the deadline for this week's edition.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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