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Seniors spur Thomas Jefferson boys' volleyball team to banner season

| Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Prints Charming Photography | for the south hills record
Thomas Jefferson's boys' varsity volleyball team was a co-section champion in Class AA action this season.

The Thomas Jefferson boys' volleyball team enjoyed a highly successful 2014 season — thanks in large part to the efforts of a strong group of senior athletes.

Thomas Jefferson ended the regular season as co-champion in Section 3-AA, sharing the title with Steel Valley.

The Jaguars then defeated West Shamokin in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, before falling to Derry in the quarterfinals.

Senior setter Luke Good, who was named section MVP, led an athletic senior class that also included middle hitters Adam Patrick and Chris Serrao, outside hitters Gabe Cappetta, Ryne Surgot and Don Meucci, and defensive specialist Rob Schwartz.

Good and Patrick were first-team all-section sections; Cappetta and Serrao were second-team selections.

“The team's success was due to the hard work and dedication from the seniors,” said Frank Staffen, Thomas Jefferson's head coach. “Losing the seniors will be hard to replace.

“Looking toward the future, the underclassman learned a lot from the seniors, especially their hard work and dedication, and are starting to work during the offseason to be next year's starter. Hopefully, the younger players will be ready for next year to replace them.”

Staffen expects to build the 2015 squad around a trio of returning all-section players in Christian Valecko and Sam Mason, a pair of juniors, as well as sophomore Jake Dobransky.

Valecko was a first-team selection at outside hitter, Mason a second-team selection at libero, while Dobransky was an honorable-mention selection at setter/right-side hitter.

“Also coming back is an experienced defense with (sophomore) Jared Kelly and (junior) Craig Bourgeois,” Staffen said. “(Sophomores) Tom Skoff and Steve Dunlap will hopefully step up to replace the two middles vacated by Chris Serrao and Adam Patrick. Both Steve and Tom show a lot of talent at that position.”

Good was a four-year varsity starter for the Jaguars who plans to be a walk-on candidate in the St. Vincent College men's volleyball program.

“Replacing setter Luke Good will be a challenge,” Staffen said. “Hopefully, (freshman) Dan Francis, Jake Dobransky or Sam Mason will step up at the setter's position.”

Staffen also is looking for junior Sean Birch and sophomore Andrew Aul to develop into starting outside hitters, and for freshman Rocco Kempa to fill in as a defensive specialist.

Other potential contributors at outside hitter include junior Chris Pasquinelli, sophomore Logan Pahanish and sophomore Zack Rubosky, who's also a setter. Another freshman prospect is Jarod Fullard, a middle hitter.

“Hopefully, this upcoming squad will keep the tradition going,” Staffen said.

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

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