Baldwin's Sgattoni honored with WPIAL scholar-athlete award
Maddi Sgattoni closed out her decorated high school volleyball career at Baldwin with yet another honor.
Sgattoni, who has accepted a scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy and will play Division I volleyball, was one of 20 seniors presented with the WPIAL scholar-athlete award for the 2016-17 school year.
The scholar-athlete program is sponsored and funded by the WPIAL board of directors and the WPIAL/James Collins Scholarship Trust Fund.
Sgattoni was nominated for the $1,000 scholarship by Baldwin athletic director Vince Sortino.
“I was honored to receive the award,” Sgattoni said. “It shows that hard work does pay off. I had to fill in everything (on the application form) from athletics, to academics and community service. It was a special award to win because it was not solely based on athletics.”
A 5-foot-11 outside hitter with a 4.25 grade-point average, Sgattoni ranks as one of the best female volleyball players in school history.
She propelled the Highlanders to WPIAL and section titles as a sophomore and junior, and to PIAA semifinal-round berths both years.
Baldwin generated a 39-0 record against WPIAL opponents during Sgattoni's sophomore and junior years, and was 43-2 overall.
Last season, Baldwin finished as the WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up and a PIAA quarterfinalist.
Sgattoni, a four-year varsity starter, was named all-state and All-WPIAL multiple times and WPIAL Player of the Year twice, and was a first-team all-section selection four times.
“Maddi is certainly the best player I've coached,” Baldwin coach Chris Kelly said last season. “If she's in the conversation as a top-five all-time player, that's saying a lot. Baldwin has had a lot of great players over the years.
“Maddi excels at every skill in volleyball — passing, defensive, hitting, blocking and serving. Despite being the best player in the gym and being named WPIAL Player of the Year, Maddi still works as hard as all her teammates. She never stops seeking to improve her game.”
Sgattoni was honored with the KDKA-TV/Allegheny Health Network “Extra Effort” award earlier this year in a ceremony at the high school.
She has been involved in Special Olympics, girls youth volleyball camps, and the Bridge Building mentoring program at Baldwin. She also participated in the Whitehall Police D.A.R.E program as a guest speaker at Harrison Middle School.
She is a member of the Renaissance Volleyball Club during the offseason. She recently was presented with the Capitol Hill Volleyball Classic 18 Open “Best Digger” award in a club tournament held in Washington, D.C.
Sgattoni's club team advanced to the junior national championships in Dallas, Texas.
“This has been the fourth year in a row that I have made nationals with Renaissance Volleyball Club,” she said.
“With my high school volleyball career officially coming to an end (last) weekend, I am highly grateful to have participated in school and club volleyball for all these years. I am ready to take on the challenge and prepare for the Naval Academy.”
Sgattoni sets sail June 29 for Annapolis, Md.
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.