Trib Cup: Beaver County Christian volleyball holding its own against Class A powers
Don't tell Christen Adels that small schools can't compete with the larger schools in Class A.
Adels — head coach of the Beaver County Christian girls volleyball team — has her Eagles (7-4 overall) in third place in Section 3-A with a 7-3 section.
“In a way, yes I do enjoy the challenge of competing against schools bigger than us,” Adels said. “Moreso than that, I enjoy seeing the girls work hard and become good volleyball players and maximize their talents.”
For succeeding in their role as nightly underdogs in David vs. Goalith-type matches, the Eagles are featured in the Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award series this week. Beaver County Christian is in fourth place in the Class A standings.
BCC only has 39 girls in its entire high school and 12 of them represent the volleyball team. Adels said the task of finding girls interested in extracting their talent is a chore she welcomes and has had success with in the past.
In 2008, in its first year in the WPIAL, BCC won the WPIAL Class A championship. Adels knows it can be done again and is preparing her group for similar results.
“In reality, it all depends on the players and the class,” Adels said. “I have a strong sophomore class right now, so we'll see if we're ready to step up and get in.”
The Eagles beat current section leader Laurel, 3-1, earlier this season in an emotional marathon that featured several lead changes and large deficits that were overcome. Adels said it's games like the Laurel match Sept. 10 that can gauge a team's progression.
“Wins like the one over Laurel are really great for a program of our size,” she said. “Really, whether we win or lose, it's good to see how far we've come.
“This particular win was great especially because of how hard we fought and because Laurel is always near the top of the section.”
Seniors Jamie Sumner (middle hitter), Emily Havranck (middle hitter), Dalashy Whitehead (outside hitter) and Mia Padgett (server/defensive specialist) will leave the BCC program in a better position after graduation.
Lily Thomas (setter), Erica Sumner (libero) and Emma Verrett (opposite) are a part of the talented sophomore class that Adels has high expectations for in years to come.
“I really do work them hard,” Adels said. “When they play for me, they know I will push them to be the best player they can become.
“Hopefully, come their senior year, they realize that the hard work pays off.”
As the regular season finale approaches, Adels said she will preach her desire to see more consistency from the group.
“When you watch us, you'll see we that we will play with moments of brilliance,” she said. “Then there are times where we're out there and have no idea what we're doing.”
If the Eagles can limit the mental lapses, a return to the WPIAL playoffs will be all but assured.
Brian Graham is a freelance writer.