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Plum girls volleyball seniors hope to break streak of early playoff exits

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Michael Love | Plum Advance Leader
Senior libero Erin Kelly and the rest of the Plum varsity girls volleyball team members are hoping to stay on the right path to another WPIAL playoff appearance in 2013.

The Plum varsity girls volleyball team is on its way to its ninth straight WPIAL playoff appearance as it opens the second half of the Section 4-AAA slate Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at McKeesport.

One of the goals of the Mustangs this season is to break a streak of 11 straight first-round playoff exits.

But, senior Sarah Carroll said, the team will worry about the playoffs when it gets here, as there are more immediate items to attend to.

“Right now, we are taking things one game at a time,” Carroll said. “We want to beat the streak and make the second round, but we want to take positives from each game coming up and build to the playoffs.”

Plum enters the second half of section play 4-2.

The Mustangs suffered tough losses to Oakland Catholic (3-1) and Shaler (3-0) and scored wins against Gateway, Woodland Hills, McKeesport and Penn Hills.

“Practice the next day after both losses was tough, but we have the motto, “Flush It,” this year,” senior Alexis Witkovitz said.

“We even say that on the court. We can't dwell on tough losses. We have to remain positive for each other and move to the next game and give our top effort.”

Plum will get another crack at Shaler on Tuesday at Plum High School.

The Mustangs visit Oakland Catholic on Oct. 10.

“We've seen much improvement, and we're working hard for each other,” senior Michelle Theiss said.

“We have to take advantage of all of our opportunities to get better.”

The hard work and teamwork, senior libero Erin Kelly said, occurs all over the court.

“We talk to each other and help each other,” she said. “We play different positions, but we use each other to bring out strengths and get better.”

Plum upended Gateway, 3-1, on Thursday at Gateway's Furrie Sports Complex. The Mustangs won the first game, 25-10, but the Gators rallied for a 25-22 win in game two.

Plum shook off the game-two loss and took the final two games of the match, 25-13 and 25-14.

“We've grown to know each other's strengths, both this year and other seasons,” senior Allison Centa said.

“We've used each other's strengths to be successful.”

Senior Colleen Brown has been out for almost the entire season because of a badly broken left pinky finger.

She said she is close to coming back and hoped to begin practicing earlier this week.

“I am in pain a lot, but the pain in my finger is minimal compared to the pain of not being able to be out (on the court) with my teammates,” she said.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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