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Baldwin girls display resiliency in second half of volleyball season

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Baldwin's girls' varsity volleyball team showed its resolve and displayed vast improvement during the second half of the 2013 season.

The Lady Highlanders ended up with a 7-5 record in Section 5-AAA play, and 10-6 overall, but posted a 5-1 mark down the season's home stretch.

“One of the most promising things for us to look at was we went 5-5 in September and 5-1 in October,” Adam Foote, Baldwin's veteran head coach, said. “Of the games we lost, three of the five were in the fifth game so we were highly competitive with each team we played.

“I am very pleased and impressed with the way girls kept growing this season, both as individual players but also a team. A 5-5 September can turn into a lackluster October, but rather than look back and feel sorry for themselves this group of girls forged ahead 100 percent with nothing but unbridled optimism and hard work.”

Three team members were named all-section — Maddi Sgattoni, a freshman setter/right-side hitter who has been moved to outside hitter; Mac Voelker, a sophomore outside hitter, and Sarah Welsh, a junior libero.

The Lady Highlanders ended their season by upending section champion Bethel Park, 3-1, as Welsh and Sgattoni took charge in the fourth game with some outstanding serving.

Bethel Park, which won the Section 5 title with an 11-1 record, finished as the WPIAL Class AAA runner-up.

The four seniors on this year's team at Baldwin — defensive specialists Lindsey Kozel, Katie Lachut, Tori Johnston and Rachel Baldinger — were joined in the starting lineup by Sgattoni, Voelker and Welsh, along with juniors Tori Dedig, at middle hitter; and Tori Sgattoni, a right-side/middle hitter; and sophomores Mallory O'Brien, at setter; and Jamie Schleicher, at middle hitter.

The leading reserves for Baldwin included sophomore setter Emma Dongilli, sophomore right-side hitter Kadin Hinish, and freshman outside hitter Sydney Yanchik; along with junior defensive specialists Kelly Delaney and Angela Tozzi, and Miranda Hampsay, a sophomore defensive specialist.

“I was really proud of the girls' efforts and willingness to keep working for the good of the team,” Foote said. “There was a lot of youth and inexperience (on the team) this year. If they can carry that experience into next season, we are in for a spectacular season.”

Other top prospects for the 2014 season include sophomores Sierra Colbert (S), Ria Price (DS), Addison Reckley (OH), Hannah Scott (DS), Barb Spegar (RS) and McKayla Thorn (OH); and freshmen Erin Ferrari (RS), Sydney Kaercher (DS), Becca Roth (MH), Abby Wagner (OH) and Makayla Woods (RS).

The final standings in Section 5-AAA were: Bethel Park (11-1), Mt. Lebanon (10-2), West Allegheny (8-4), Baldwin (7-5), Montour (4-8), Chartiers Valley (2-10), Moon (0-12).

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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