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Greensburg Central Catholic volleyball faces tough road in title defense

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Kim Stepinsky | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Megan Stunja (center) sends the ball over the net during a game held at Greensburg Central Catholic High School on Sept. 18, 2012, against West Shamokin.
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By Alex Oltmanns
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Last season, the Greensburg Central Catholic girls volleyball team won the WPIAL Class A championship with a core group of six seniors.

The Centurions enter this season hoping to repeat as champions but, without any seniors on the roster, will look to four juniors for leadership.

The junior quartet of outside hitters Lauren Nofli and Megan Stunja, middle hitter/setter Leah Bisignani and libero Rachel Moore are Greensburg Central Catholic's veterans this season and coach Heather Meyer will lean heavily on them.

“I'm expecting them to really step up and be the leaders this year as juniors,” Meyer said.

With all four except Moore, who has started at times, returning as starters from last year, the Centurions are hoping experience will allow for a smooth transition into the 2013 campaign.

“The fortunate thing with that group, they all got a lot of playing time last year, so they understand the pressure situations, and they want to do well,” Meyer said.

After competing in a set of scrimmages against five teams at Hempfield last weekend, Meyer got a better feel for her team taking away positives and negatives from the exhibitions.

She was encouraged by the work ethic from her team, but noted that the Centurions' defensive effort was not up to par.

“I saw some good things and some things we really need to work on,” she said. “I think that's pretty normal.”

While they still have time to address their defensive issues before their season opener Sept. 4, the Centurions will be tested in that game against Section 1-A foe West Shamokin, a team Greensburg Central Catholic defeated in the WPIAL semifinals last season.

Most defending champions enter the following season with a target on their backs, but Meyer isn't sure if the rest of Class A still considers the Centurions as the league favorite after losing their nucleus from last season.

“I think that people thought we lost a lot because we lost six seniors, so I'm not sure how much of a target we'll have to begin with,” she said.

But despite the perception opponents may have of them, Meyer and Greensburg Central Catholic's goals remain the same in 2013.

“We always set really high goals because if you don't expect it, you don't get it and they don't strive for it,” Meyer said. “… We would like to finish at the top of our section and like to again try for the WPIAL title.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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