'Rebuilt' Bethel Park volleyball back on top of section
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Perennial volleyball powerhouse Bethel Park is “rebuilding” this season, or so says coach Tom Allman.
The WPIAL runner-up a year ago, the Black Hawks lost nine seniors, including all-state hitter Grant Underwood, forcing Allman to adjust his approach this spring.
But anyone checking the bottom of the Section 1-AAA standings in hopes of a Bethel Park slide may be discouraged to find that the Black Hawks are actually at the top again with a perfect 10-0 record.
“We've had ups and downs all year. You can't just look at wins and losses,” Allman said.
Seniors Danny Burke, Lenny Chorney and Brandon Hanson have provided a strong nucleus, setting an example for the underclassman who have stepped up to fill varsity roles.
“I was just telling the guys that weren't ever in that situation to just be calm and do what you do in practice,” Chorney said. “It's more of (trying to) keep things rolling for the younger players.”
Allman juggled the lineup after a slow start, using a nine-player rotation while continuing to preach a team-first approach.
Juniors Steve Eiven and David Uhlman, along with sophomores Jake Dixon and Derek Miller, have filled gaps that were left by graduation, creating a new identity from last year's offense-minded squad.
“We had to almost redo our entire lineup with hitters,” Burke said.
“I think this year our defense is playing a much bigger role on the team than last year. Last year we had big hitters and big blockers, so we could really focus on that and our defense really wasn't as prominent.”
With a fourth straight section title in tow and less than a week left in the regular season, the Black Hawks look to the playoffs to leave their mark.
Burke referred to last year's tight championship game as evidence that the postseason is even more unpredictable.
“Don't take anything for granted in the playoffs. We went into that final with North Allegheny, and NA was the powerhouse and we took them to five (sets),” said Burke, who is the first player in program history to earn a letter and win the section title all four years of his career.
“No one thought Bethel Park could do that. It's the playoffs, and you don't know how people are going to play. You just have to play your heart out.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Playoff experience pays off for Kittanning in preliminary round win over Elizabeth Forward
- High school roundup: Derry volleyball downs Brownsville in prelminary round
- Freeport volleyball team fights another foe — complacency
- Frazier volleyball rallies past Geibel in playoff tune-up
- Freeport volleyball team’s other foe is complacency
- Ford City volleyball clinches first place in section
- New rallying cry for Knoch girls volleyball team
- Girls volleyball powers Seneca Valley, Shaler set to square off
- Thomas Jefferson senior looking forward to RMU volleyball career
- Franklin Regional closes section slate at Kiski Area
- Trib Cup: Bishop Canevin volleyball chasing WPIAL championship