By: Ryan Kendrick
The Seton LaSalle Boys’ Volleyball team is looking forward to the 2017 season, hoping for great success with new head Coach Lawrence and assistant Coach Jackson. This is the fourth coaching change in five years for Seton LaSalle. Fortunately, it is Coach Lawrence’s 27th year coaching. The team is lead by seniors Jack Doyle, Ballard Powell, Devin Gilfoyle, Ryan Kendrick, Augie Collins, and first year player Bryce Sigg. Last year, Gilfoyle and Kendrick were 2nd Team All-Section and Collins was an Honorable Mention. Other returning starters are Adam Rusnak, Dan Dixon, and Caleb Klemick. With the new WPIAL and PIAA alignments, their section loses powerhouse Obama Academy and gains Bishop Canevin. In addition, Steel Valley, South Park, Thomas Jefferson and Keystone Oaks are in their section.
Like last year, the team is shaping up to be very large, with at least 30 students trying out. In 2016, the boys went 4-6 in section, but have hopes to win section this year. The team loses 3 starters, but returns everyone else from last year. Junior Cullen Vereb says “I think the team will do well in section, and hopefully compete for the WPIAL Championship. Even though we had a losing record last year, we improved a lot, especially gaining Bryce Sigg, who is 6’5. Also, the new coach seems very good.”
Coach Lawrence feels the same way, saying “My goals for this year’s Seton LaSalle team are to elevate the level of play to the point that the other teams in the section cannot compete with us. Additionally I will work to provide the young men who play in the program opportunities to play on after high school. I’ve watched quite a bit of video of the other teams in the section from last year. Judging from those videos and the level of enthusiasm and hard work our young men are displaying in open gyms I expect that the other teams in the section will be very surprised in the changes coming from Seton LaSalle.”
“The experience, knowledge, and outlook of our coach, who has been coaching for 40 years, has me really excited for this year. He is very positive, and make sure everyone is able to do the drill correctly before moving on. He also knows what he is doing.” says Junior Mark Mitchell.
As of now, there have already been more preseason practices, which is already more than the team had in the previous two years. Coach Lawrence is also looking forward to scheduling potential games against opponents in higher WPIAL divisions and also getting the team involved in more tournaments than previous years. Out of section they will play Hopewell, Upper St. Clair, Carrick, Trinity, Peters Township, Moon Township and OLSH. Additionally they are playing in a Norwin Tournament and most likely a Seneca Valley Tournament which are both 16 team events.
Finally, Coach Lawrence created a new team motto. “Who’s team is it?” he asks. The team replies; “My team!”. They conclude every practice reciting those words. The team seems energized and ready for an awesome season!