By: Megan Manion –
The 2016 Girl’s Volleyball Team is back in action with an experienced starting lineup and they are ready to fight their way to the WPIAL Championship. The girl’s are welcoming back a roster full of returning players including, seniors Emilie Gruendl (setter), Megan Manion (Outside Hitter), and Nicole Reyes (Right Side). Juniors Ellie Grefenstette (Outside Hitter), Bridget Hart (Middle Hitter), Maggie Syverson (Defensive Specialist) , and Alyssa Eicker (Defensive Specialist/Outside Hitter) and sophomores, Jenni Pitts (Middle Hitter) and Emily Farley (Defensive Specialist).
The girls are welcoming a new coach to the season, Ms. Emily Rosati. Rosati has been playing volleyball since middle school and played at the collegiate level at St. Vincent College. She said that the goals of this year are “to play together as a team and to make a deep run in the playoffs. Since I am new to the team I am learning a lot not only about the girls individually, but as the team as a whole.”
The team is in a new section this year and Rosati says that “the team looks promising and even when facing difficult opponents like Keystone Oaks and Serra Catholic.”
The girls play Keystone Oaks on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 and dropped a game to Serra Catholic on September 22, 2016 resulting in the first loss of the season.
“The girls worked very hard over the summer working out and working hard during practices, and it is showing when they are playing in games. Everyone contributes to the team, and everyone on the court is important but also the people on the bench contribute in such a positive way,” said Rosati.
There have been a couple of injuries early on in the season and according to Rosati, “the players who have faced injury are slowly battling back now and by the middle of the season we should be back one hundred percent and ready to fight back and try to win section.”
Junior, Bridget Hart, says that her goals for this season are “to compete for another section title, to make a run in playoffs even to compete for a WPIAL title. With the skill level that we have, I know that we are more than capable accomplishing each of these goals.”
The girls’ team has worked hard all season and Hart claims that “if everyone, individually, and as a team works hard and keeps all of these goals in mind, I think we are going to have a great season. The team this year is working very hard on and off the court and I think that plays a huge part.”
Hart doesn’t believe that the team has reached full potential yet, but when they reach their peak, they will surprise a lot of people. Hart claims that they have “a lot of people who have stepped up to take on big roles on the team. For the team, it’s not about key players or one individual that carries the team, it is about each player stepping up and working as hard as they possibly can. If each of us feel like at the end of the day, we did everything we can and left it all on the court, then there is no reason everyone can’t be a key player.”
As mentioned before, the girls team lost a game to Serra Catholic and when asked about their biggest rival, Hart said, “This year our biggest rival so far has been Serra Catholic. They are a well-stacked team with amazing determination to put the ball down each opportunity they get. We play them one more time in section play and I think we can definitely compete with them.” The girls played well against them and actually took a set off of them, so they know that they can keep up with them.
The captain this year for the 2016 season, is senior Emilie Gruendl. “She has been a leader since the beginning of freshman year,” says junior, Maggie Syverson.
“Emilie brings such a strong drive to want to win and she brings happiness and shows leadership qualities on and off the court,” says junior, Ellie Grefenstette.
The girls have four weeks left of regular season play and are hoping to keep their one loss as the only time they lose the rest of the season. They face some difficult opponents in the next couple of weeks that will prepare them for when it comes time for playoffs. They are hoping to win section and give their opposition a run for their money during playoffs this year.