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Frazier volleyball team primed for big season

| Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010

For the Frazier volleyball team, this could be the year that history is made.

The Commodores are entering the 2010 season as one of the teams to beat in Class A. According to coach Mandy Hartman, the sky is the limit when it comes to the success this year's squad can achieve.

"If anybody beats this team this year, it will be them beating themselves," Hartman said. "We've talked about staying focused and not taking anybody for granted. If we are able to do those things, this team should have a season to remember."

There are plenty of reasons for the optimism that surrounds Hartman and the Commodores.

"When you talk about the strength of the team, the first thing you see is size -- and you just can't teach that," Hartman said. "And these kids have been playing together for a long time."

Having size and experience is nice, but the team's overall talent and dedication may be what pushes it to the top of WPIAL Class A.

"We do have a nice group of seniors that are very talented, and they are true volleyball players," Hartman said.

The five seniors who will play huge roles this year are Amanda Pato (setter/outside hitter), Laurissa Ellis (middle hitter), Gena Keebler (right side hitter), Giovanna Bitonti (setter/outside hitter) and Savannah Prue (outside hitter).

Hartman also has the luxury of having some talented underclassmen.

Sophomore McKenzie Barch (libero) and junior Megan Manack (outside hitter) will enhance this year's squad, as will junior Kelsey Dillon (middle hitter).

Manack missed nearly all of the 2009 season with a torn meniscus. She's healthy again, and she could make a huge difference in Frazier's ability to achieve its goals this season.

"It was a real loss (last year) when we had to play without Megan," Hartman said. "It's exciting to see her back on the court. She is developing into a stronger athlete."

The Commodores will compete in Section 5-A with Geibel, California, Carmichaels, West Greene, Jefferson-Morgan and Mapletown.

Last year, Frazier shared the section championship with Jefferson-Morgan, and the Rockets ended the Commodores' season by beating them in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals. This year, Frazier's goals are not only to win the section outright, but to be the best team in the WPIAL.

"We lost three girls (to graduation), but we've had some girls really step up big," Hartman said. "They've set some big goals for themselves this year."

The Commodores will open the season by taking part in the KSA Fall Classic Volleyball Tournament on Sept. 3-4.

Additional Information:

Quick facts

» Mandy Hartman is assisted by her husband, Don Hartman.

» Mandy Hartman is beginning her 14th season as coach of the Commodores.

» Frazier has qualified for the WPIAL playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons.

» Senior setter/outside hitter Amanda Pato was named to the all-WPIAL first team last season.

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