Penn-Trafford volleyball sets sights high
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Penn-Trafford girls volleyball team had a successful 2013 season, qualifying for the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs for the eighth straight season and winning a first-round playoff match after failing to do so in 2012.
Still, entering this season, the Warriors want more.
Penn-Trafford will kick off its 2014 campaign this weekend vying for its third section championship in the past four seasons and a deep playoff run. Last season, the Warriors finished second in section play behind Norwin and bowed out in the WPIAL quarterfinals against Shaler.
“Coming second in the section is great, but it's not what we want,” senior outside hitter Angela Tarabrella said. “We want to come in first this year. As a team, we want to come down in history. We want to go further than we ever have in playoffs.”
Six players, all of whom saw playing time, graduated from last season's team. However, the Warriors return two starters in Tarabrella and fellow senior outside hitter Maria Palarino, as well as junior middle hitter Emma Mull, who played a significant role last season.
“We're going to have some new players, but I think I could tell even last year that we were going to be pretty good this year,” Penn-Trafford coach Jim Schall said. “We had some kids who didn't play much who are very good and are going to be able to step in and play pretty well this year.”
Penn-Trafford must replace setter Taylor Solo, a four-year starter. Senior Kelsey Roche will step into the lineup at setter, and Schall said she looked strong in preseason workouts.
With Mull, Palarino and Tarabrella returning at hitter, and senior Audra Ragan stepping into a more significant role on the front line, the Warriors' offense could be a team strength.
“I think (having returning hitters is) definitely a start,” Schall said. “You've got to pass the ball well, and Angela and Maria are good passers, too. Besides playing in the front row, they were two of our passers last year. I think we'll hit pretty well, and I think we'll pass pretty well, too. I think we'll be a pretty well-rounded team.”
On the back line, Schall said seniors Sarah McGowan and Katie Pierce and sophomore Meghan Marasti were competing for time as defensive specialists.
“I'd say right now there's competition for those spots,” he said. “But we have more kids who can play the whole way around the court, and we probably won't use five defensive specialists.”
Tarabrella said the Warriors' roster also includes some strong young players who should contribute to the team this season.
“I know when I was younger and had to play up, it made me push myself even more to play higher,” she said. “I know these younger players playing up on varsity have the skills and the level to play up on varsity and be able to help us out this year.”
Penn-Trafford will compete in Section 1-AAA with Connellsville, Franklin Regional, Kiski Area, Hempfield, Latrobe and Norwin. Connellsville, a playoff team in 2013, replaces Laurel Highlands, which finished in last place.
“We had probably six or seven years where (the section) wasn't really strong,” Schall said. “Last year, it was very good, especially at the top of the section. Three of us were in the final eight, and I think it will probably be stronger throughout (this year). I can't remember when it's been as good as this year.”
Penn-Trafford will kick off its season at the Mt. Lebanon Tournament on Saturday before opening section play at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 against Latrobe.
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.