Young Chartiers Valley volleyball team looks to maintain success
Slowly but surely, the Chartiers Valley girls volleyball team is on the rise. Coach Jason Ferri got the Colts to the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals last season.
This season, CV looks to take another step forward.
“I think (making the playoffs) was really good for our kids,” Ferri said. “I think they were starting to believe. It really opened our younger kids' eyes. I've seen a different attitude this year, more confidence.”
The Colts remain relatively young, having lost only two seniors and with only two on this year's roster. But those young players got a wealth of experience and will look to guide the Colts deeper into the playoffs.
Chartiers Valley will be solid in the back, led by two-year senior starter Jocelyn Dunn at libero and senior defensive specialist Carmina Sibeto. Ferri called Dunn “one of the better liberos in the WPIAL.”
Setter Ashlynn Gulakowski earned second-team all-section honors last season as a sophomore. The primary target of her sets will be junior outside hitter Mara Hartoyo and middle hitters Laney Friburger, a junior, and sophomore Amaleen Malcolm.
“I think we can be a dangerous team,” Ferri said. “I think we're going to be in contention, but our section has a lot of good teams. I don't know if there's an overall favorite.”
Bishop Canevin, meanwhile, likely will be the favorite in Section 3A after losing just two seniors from the 2016 section co-champ and WPIAL silver medalist.
“We're still relatively young between sophomores and juniors,” coach Kevin Walters said. “They have experience now. The juniors now have a couple years' experience. They need to step up and do their jobs.”
The Crusaders return a number of players who contributed last season. Middle hitter Tamara Blue is their lone senior.
The experienced junior class is led by outside hitter Kylie Airesman, middle hitter Ally Correa and outside hitter Lexi Hall. Sophomore setter Madison Maziarz returns, along with fellow sophomore Alexa Malloy, who will handle right-side hitting duties.
Hannah Delisio and Gabby Matakovich anchor the back line. Alexis Zarnick is what Walters calls a “utility” hitter, as she can fill various roles along the front line. And freshman Gillian Golupski also could make an impact.
The Crusaders will try to finish off a WPIAL playoff run with gold this time, as well as get past the first round of the PIAA playoffs, where they were eliminated last season.
“We have high expectations,” Walters said. “We'll see what happen when the season starts.”
The Carlynton girls are under the direction of new coach Amber Seibel, who was hired less than two weeks ago. Seibel played at South Fayette and on club teams before playing collegiately at Lycoming.
Seibel didn't meet her players until practices officially began Monday, but she said she isn't worried about the quick turnaround.
“Luckily for me, the former coach (Emily Tupi) has laid a terrific base,” Seibel said. “I'm not walking into a broken program. I'm just going to take off from here.”
Seibel has done some consulting with Tupi and said she believes she has a bit of a feel for what to expect. She said she doesn't expect to make any drastic changes to the program but merely put her own spin on what already has been established.
She said she will look to some younger players to build the foundation of her program: setter Jaelyn Melko, hitter Emmaline Stevens and libero Airys Gould.
“From what I've seen, they perform really well in their section and some of their major tournaments,” Seibel said. “I don't see why we couldn't continue that.”