6-foot-6 freshman sparks Pine-Richland boys volleyball

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Sunday, April 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Doolin Stober has a unique name and an equally distinct skill set on the volleyball court.

Standing at 6-foot-6, he provides a major presence in the middle of the net for the Pine-Richland boys volleyball team.

He had a big performance that helped the Rams secure their first win of the season, 3-2 over Fox Chapel, on March 30.

Stober, a freshman, was recently named the Class 3A player of the week by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association.

The honor was a nice bonus, but getting that first win for a young Rams team that starts three freshmen and three sophomores was a big moment.

“It all went back to practice,” Stober said. “We had been practicing extremely hard because we were sick of losing against these bigger teams. We understand that we are a really young team, but we still want to push and try to get more wins.”

Stober found out about the accolade he received while on vacation with his family in Hawaii for spring break.

Family is a big part of what’s shaped him, which is embodied by his name.

Stober said he gets asked about the origin of his first name quite a bit. It’s a homage to his late great-grandfather.

“On my dad’s side, my grandfather’s dad had the last name Doolin, but he unfortunately passed away,” Stober said. “(My great-grandmother) ended up remarrying, so that’s why my last name is Stober. So when I was born, my parents decided to honor him and take his last name and make it my first name. My middle name is Burke, which is my mom’s maiden name, so my name is basically a tribute to my entire family.”

Stober is a three-sport athlete. He plays tight end/defensive end in football and forward in basketball to go along with volleyball. He’s found a passion on the volleyball court and plays at the club level.

“I enjoy playing all of the sports, but I am leaning towards volleyball because every time I get out of the game, I get this feeling that I want to keep playing,” Stober said. “If the chance is there, I also want to increase my skills in basketball and maybe look at that (sport) too potentially.”

Stober’s size is a raw advantage on the court, but he understands he can’t just rest on the fact he’s tall. He has a want to improve all the skills needed to be a complete player and has been training off the court to round all facets of his game.

“My size helps a lot,” Stober said. “It allows me to get a lot of tips on a lot of blocks and get up above a lot of blocks while hitting. It can be an Achilles heel as well, because it makes it a little bit harder for me to get low to pass. Otherwise, I see my height being really helpful, but I try not to rely on it too much. I am attempting to increase my vertical through a lot of plyometric and lifting workouts.”

While personal improvement is a focus, so is the development of the team. Now that they’ve tasted victory, there’s a desire for more. The young Rams are determined to continue to show progress in the back half of the season.

“This year is about building together for future years, but the goal is always to try and beat the teams we play,” Stober said. “Even if we don’t do that, I want to start taking sets off them to show that we are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. At the same time, we shouldn’t just be using the fact that we are going to be a good team in the future as an excuse. We can’t just say that. We still have to work to get better.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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