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Latrobe boys volleyball team looking for deeper playoff run

| Sunday, May 4, 2014, 10:00 p.m.

The Latrobe boys volleyball team appears to be peaking at the right time. The Wildcats have won five of their last six Section 3-AAA matches and six of their last eight overall.

“The kids are confident that our rotation works, and they're confident with the people playing next to them,” coach Drew Vosefski said. “We've kind of found our rhythm, and it's always a good time to do that toward the end of the season going into the playoffs.”

Latrobe (8-4, 8-2) has clinched a playoff berth with two matches remaining, and the finality of their careers is starting to become evident to the senior-laden team.

“I think it's just a bunch of seniors finally realizing that this is their last shot,” Vosefski said. “They're going to be graduating, and after this, if you're not going to play in college, there's coaching and rec, so give it all you've got right now.”

One player who will be playing in college is 6-foot-7 senior Garrett Kollar, a George Mason recruit. He leads the team in blocks with 33 12 and ranks second in aces (13) and kills (96). But he also contributes away from the ball.

“What Garrett brings to us is the constant attention from the other team that they know he's a force to be reckoned with, and when he doesn't get the ball we realize that he opens up things for the other hitters because a lot of teams will focus on Garrett,” Vosefski said.

Kollar is joined by fellow seniors T.J. Greene and Kevin Gibson and setter Robert Gunther and 6-6 Nathan Carota to form the nucleus of the team. Gibson leads the team in aces and kills with 17 and 129, respectively. Senior Zane Harshall leads the team with 49 digs, and Gunther is tied for second with 43.

“I think that our senior class has brought the size and power needed to do well, but more importantly, the cohesiveness needed in a strong team,” Kollar said. “We are all pretty good friends and just love to play the game together.”

A year removed from their playoff quarterfinal loss to defending Class AAA champion North Allegheny, the Wildcats' experienced group hopes to move past that mark this postseason.

“From what I'm told, some people say it's one of the best matches they've seen,” Vosefski said. “They beat us 3-1, but every one was contested and could have gone either way. So a lot of that helped these guys gain confidence they can play with anybody in our league.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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