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Serra Catholic volleyball continues winning ways under new coaching staff

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 11:34 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Serra Catholic girls volleyball coach Keith Trahan reviews strategy with the team during a break between sets against North Catholic on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at Serra.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Serra Catholic girls volleyball coach Keith Trahan watches game action against North Catholic on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at Serra.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Serra Catholic's Lauren Kolenik blocks a North Catholic shot Thursday, September 26, 2013, at Serra Catholic.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Serra Catholic's Lauren Kolenik waits for a North Catholic serve on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at Serra.

The names are different but the results have been similar with the Serra Catholic girls volleyball program during the first half of the season.

The Eagles have continued to win with a roster overhaul that saw former coach Chad Farrington and six seniors depart following the school's first WPIAL section title in 2012.

“This has been a fabulous group in transition,” first-year coach Keith Trahan said. “We are a pretty good volleyball team having a pretty good year.”

Serra Catholic, which defeated North Catholic, 3-0, Thursday night, has lost just once — to Class A power Shenango — and twice was a runner-up in tournaments at Chartiers-Houston and Plum. The Eagles are 7-0 in Section 2-A.

Trahan, a native of Lake Charles, La., who coached Charleston James Island to the South Carolina Class AAAA semifinals in 2005, took over the Serra Catholic program in the offseason with wife Laura as an assistant after the two previously served as coaches of the Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Association traveling team.

They were joined on the Serra Catholic staff by former eighth-grade coach Karen Kolenik.

“We're very blessed to have both of them,” Kolenik said of the Trahans. “It's important to realize what strong leadership we have on this team.”

The Trahans, who live in Pittsburgh's Swisshelm Park section, were content with coaching their previous traveling club team, but they also were intrigued by the notion of returning to the high school ranks.

After leaving South Carolina, Keith Trahan came to Pittsburgh to attend Pitt, where he currently serves as assistant director of the Center for Research and Evaluation in the School of Education.

“I wasn't looking to get back into coaching high school,” he said. “I've played and coached in many states, and I've been pleased with the level of play here in Western Pennsylvania. It's good.”

Equally good, Trahan said, has been his involvement with Serra Catholic.

“The Serra community has been very supportive, very good,” he said. “This program is stable. The cupboard certainly was not bare when we got here, even though we lost six seniors from an undefeated section team.”

Three of the Eagles' current group of six seniors — Michele Alfer, Christina Pici and Anna Quattrone — are joined by junior Erin Thomas as returning players with previous varsity experience.

The 11-player varsity roster also includes one other junior, two sophomores and one freshman. There also are 11 players on Serra Catholic's junior varsity roster.

“There's a very big club system in place in this area,” Trahan said. “When you have that, you are going to have a lot of interest and some success with your high school programs. The competition around here is good, and we want to extend the chance to succeed at Serra Catholic.”

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