Connellsville volleyball team looks to build on strong season
During his first season as coach of the Connellsville girls volleyball team, Casey O'Brien guided the Falcons to a third-place finish in Section 2-AAA and a trip to the WPIAL playoffs.
Connellsville lost 3-0 to Shaler in the first round of last year's postseason tournament, but O'Brien believes the 2013 season can serve as a steppingstone in the program's development.
“I think we've got a little chip on our shoulder,” O'Brien said. “The girls experienced the playoffs and experienced the loss. They remember it and they are trying to work harder.”
This year's team will be somewhat different from the 2013 playoff squad. The Falcons will be dealing with several big losses. Maria Merendino, Emma Bell, Melissa Kirby and Isabella Sigado graduated.
Fortunately, the team can build around six lettermen. Seniors Megan Kirkpatrick, Emily Means and Saiah Mickens, as well as juniors Kristen Domer and Abbie Siecinski and sophomore Gianna Sigado, have varsity experience and will be heavily relied upon this season.
“They have stayed together all year,” O'Brien said, noting that the group took advantage of the opportunity to play in a club league (Rectagon) and played outdoors throughout the summer at Cat's Courts, an outdoor volleyball facility named in honor of 2011 Connellsville graduate and former volleyball player Catherine Healy, who passed away due to an automobile accident last year. “They've gotten really comfortable playing with each other, and they've worked hard. They all stuck together.”
This year, the Falcons are moving from Section 2-AAA to Section 1-AAA. New section opponents are Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Kiski, Latrobe, Norwin and Penn-Trafford. Hempfield, Penn-Trafford and Norwin were playoff teams last year, with Norwin earning a trip to the state tournament.
The section will be filled with challenges, but O'Brien and the team are looking forward to meeting them head-on.
“The big thing amongst the kids is that they want to get back to the playoffs,” O'Brien said. “But they feel that a better goal is to win the section and make it to the second or third round of the playoffs and get back to when Connellsville volleyball was something to talk about in this city.”
Means, one of the lettermen, is excited to see the fruits of the team's hard work, especially during the offseason.
“We didn't have a break,” Means said. “We never put a volleyball down, so none of us are rusty. We just need to communicate and push ourselves and our teammates.”
O'Brien, who will be assisted by Eric Ressler and Samantha Zavatchen, is hoping that the team can get out of the gate fast.
“I think we're going to be a strong defensive, ball-control team,” O'Brien said. “And we are pretty aggressive. If we are playing well, we'll keep teams on their heels.”
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.