Penn-Trafford volleyball responds to adversity
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For the first time this season, Penn-Trafford girls volleyball coach Jim Schall got a chance to witness how his team would respond to a section loss.
He liked what he saw.
Two days after a loss to Norwin temporarily dropped the Warriors into a first-place tie in Section 1-AAA, they moved on top again with a 3-1 victory over Hempfield last Thursday at Penn-Trafford High School.
Penn-Trafford (8-1, 6-1) entered this week in first place in the section, a half-game up on Norwin and one game ahead of Hempfield.
“There's still a long way to go, but it was big to beat (Hempfield),” Schall said. “And you'd hate to go 0-2 in your section in a week also. We knew it was a big week coming up. You'd like to win them both, but getting one on Thursday was pretty nice.”
What Schall really liked was his team's response to the 3-1 loss against Norwin.
The coach felt his team came out flat against the Knights and got frustrated, and that contributed to the loss.
Some of those issues cropped up early the next night in a nonsection match against Fox Chapel, but the Warriors rebounded to win, 3-2.
“We played pretty much how we played against Norwin in the first game on Wednesday, and after that we had a little discussion,” Schall said. “Things seemed to get straightened out after that. After the first game on Wednesday, we played how I think we should play.”
Thursday, Penn-Trafford came out strong from the beginning. The Warriors made a statement early, winning the first set, 25-10, and keeping the pressure on throughout the night.
“We have a lot of nice kids on the team, and I think we tend to sit back a little bit instead of jumping on the other team right away (sometimes),” Schall said. “We did a good job of that on Thursday. We won the first game, 25-10. Not that it was easy from there on out, but I thought we really played well right from the beginning.”
The victory enabled Penn-Trafford to sweep the season series against Hempfield, one of the section's three playoff teams from last season.
Penn-Trafford continued section play with a match Tuesday at Franklin Regional. The match ended past the deadline for this week's edition.
The Warriors will host Laurel Highlands on Thursday before a home nonsection match against North Allegheny on Monday. All matches will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Schall said the Warriors, the two-time defending section champions, still have a thing or two to work on during the second half of the season. But he likes where the team is headed.
“If I was being pretty picky, I'd say passing and defense would be the biggest things to work on,” he said. “(Against Norwin), those weren't the best. But I think overall, we've made some improvements. We have the rest of the section teams to play, and we have two tough exhibition matches coming up that'll be good tests.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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