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Injuries can't slow Elizabeth Forward volleyball team

| Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 6:27 p.m.

There are no excuses where coach Lindsay Lesofsky is concerned. Apparently, there don't need to be.

Despite the injuries to her Elizabeth Forward girls volleyball team, the perennial playoff contender has just one loss in 11 matches this season.

“We've had a lot of injuries, so my juniors have been able to step up,” Lesofsky said.

It is that sort of depth and continuity that has sustained a powerful program at Elizabeth Forward — one that has produced playoff-caliber teams almost annually. The Warriors are working on making their seventh consecutive trip to the WPIAL Class AA postseason and 15th in the past 16 years.

Lesofsky has coached EF for the past eight seasons.

“It's all about communication,” senior middle hitter Corri Waters said. “Once we learn to adjust to each other on the court, we're fine. We've all played together at one time or another coming up through the years. We all know how each other plays.”

That's been particularly important in a year that has produced its share of ailments.

With a varsity roster that includes six seniors and seven juniors, experience is at a premium in 2013.

“At the very beginning of the season,” Lesofsky said, “Katie Goettel, our starting right-side hitter, was complaining that her thumb was hurting and was taping it.”

Goettel sustained torn ligaments in her hand, the result of a thrown ball that caromed off her fingers.

Goettel, a junior, is expected back in the lineup Tuesday against West Mifflin. But if she can't go, two other juniors — Eva Shinavski and Angela Shriane — proved they can fill in nicely.

“They've really stepped up and done a good job,” Lesofsky said, “Eva on the back line and Angela on the front row.”

That injury was only the start. But no excuses, Lesofsky said.

“(Senior) Hannah Saunders cut her hand opening a can of soup and had to have 10 stitches,” Lesofsky said. “She's back playing again.”

In the meantime, junior Molly Ference, with little varsity playing experience, played in three single games and a tournament and did well, according to Lesofsky.

What's more, senior Lisa Filipelli collided with another player while attempting to reach for a shot. The other player's cheekbone met Filipelli's nose “straight on,” Lesofsky said, causing some pain and bruising — but no concussion.

“We just kind of mixed in a couple of other girls in certain situations and made it work,” Lesofsky said. “That's been really a trademark of this team this year. If not for all these things happening, only two juniors (Goettel and Kelsey Benedek) would be playing varsity on a regular basis.

“Pretty much everyone on my varsity roster has made a significant contribution. Three weeks ago at the Baldwin Tournament, we basically had our entire JV team on the court at one time.”

Elizabeth Forward's other seniors are Mikayla Ambler, Lara Pasko and Shayne Watson. Other juniors are Angie Grace and Paris Stecik.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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