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Fox Chapel volleyball team is looking for solid season

- Fox Chapel # 22, Junior Megan Hollingsworth (Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review)
Fox Chapel # 22, Junior Megan Hollingsworth (Randy Jarosz  |  For the Tribune-Review)
- Fox Chapel # 20, (left) senior Carly Slovenec, # 3 junior Betsy Slagel (Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review)
Fox Chapel # 20, (left) senior Carly Slovenec,  # 3  junior Betsy Slagel (Randy Jarosz  |  For the Tribune-Review)

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Last year, the Fox Chapel High School girls volleyball team caught fire early in the season and ran off 14 straight wins to end the regular season.

They added three more wins in the WPIAL playoffs before falling to Mt. Lebanon in the championship match.

The Foxes ended up with a 9-3 section mark and were 18-5 overall.

Coach Sara D'Angelo will have her work cut out for her if the team is to achieve the same success this season.

“We lost five senior starters and most of them were three-year starters,” D'Angelo said.

The Foxes will return three starters — seniors Michaela Patsko (outside hitter), Megan Holingsworth (outside hitter) and Betsy Slagel (outside hitter.)

“We obviously lost a lot of experience and leadership. We've also got some talented newcomers and they'll be counted on to step into some big roles,” D'Angelo said.

Ana Spangenberg and Kayla Slovenec will be the new setters. Murphy Patterson and Kelsey Denny will be relied on as primary hitters as well.

“Only Kayla and Ana have minimal varsity experience from their freshman years,” D'Angelo said. “Leach Eckman will be a junior middle hitter for us this year.

“She was the third middle behind two very talented middles last year and now will play a role as one of our primary attackers.

“Our strength is that we have a great senior group who remembers what it took to get to the WPIAL championships last year. They are not afraid to remind the newbies how much work it takes to be successful.

D'Angelo said the team has a lot of talent, but lacks experience and that will be the ongoing challenge this year.

D'Angelo also believes the Foxes will be competing in one of the toughest sections in the WPIAL again.

“North Allegheny will be a force this year, along with the usual tough teams that we face such as Seneca Valley and Pine Richland in our section. We have confidence in ourselves and are looking forward to the challenge,” she said.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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