A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: St. Joseph’s Emma Swierczewski

Monday, October 30, 2023 | 12:07 PM

Emma Swierczewski and her fellow seniors have seen and done a lot as volleyball players at St. Joseph.

This year is the best work they have done, and it propelled the Spartans to the playoffs for just the second time ever and the first time in 10 years.

“A lot of us seniors have been together since middle school, and that brings a lot of chemistry,” Swierczewski said. “Being on a team with such positivity and a desire to win has been truly amazing these four years.”

The team has found unity and played well together while working with a new head coach, Ann McCarthy.

“I’ve coached a long time,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better group of kids. I feel extremely privileged.”

Added Swierczewski: “Coach McCarthy has help us realize our true potential. She’s really helped us play as a team. When you don’t play as a team, things fall apart. We’ve become united and working together has everything falling into place.”

McCarthy has noticed a stark difference in the response of her team with the return of Swierczewski, who did not play last year because of an injury.

“The seniors are a tight bunch. Although I didn’t coach last year, I think her presence among them was really missing,” McCarthy said. “Emma’s delightful to coach. She’s a really good emotional leader on the court. It’s nice to have her back.”

Swierczewski and St. Joseph (13-5, 8-4) finished third in their section and will look to continue the momentum in the WPIAL playoffs.

With the season nearing its end, Swierczewski took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q-and-A:

Have you and Anna Kreinbrook become a dynamic duo on the court?

Both of us, with Julie Spinelli, when we’re along the front row together, everything falls into place. We all know how to work together, and things work like they should.

What was the injury you suffered last year?

I tore my left labrum playing basketball two years ago, and I wasn’t able to play volleyball last year.

What was the recovery process like?

I had surgery in April, and I had to recover for four months, two of which I wore a sling. I had to do a lot of physical therapy to get motion back in my shoulder.

Do you think, because of your injury, being around the team as a spectator helped your leadership skills?

I’ve gotten to learn everyone’s personalities through hanging out in school or at practice, and that really helped to find what motivates each individual player.

What is your greatest strength?

Encouraging all my teammates to do their best. Even when we’re down to a good team, I do my best to be a leader and keep a good energy, keep everyone smiling and in good spirits.

What hobbies do you have, any sports you play other than basketball?

I am going to play softball this year, something I haven’t played since I was a freshman. So that’s three sports: volleyball, basketball and softball. Other than that, I’m usually hanging with my friends and focusing on school.

Any college plans?

I am applying to three schools: Dayton University, American University and University of Maryland. I haven’t made a decision on which school yet.

What will be your focus of study?

Not sure yet, but I’m leaning towards something in business.

Will you play any sports in college?

I don’t plan on playing competitively. I do plan on playing intramurals, though.

What is one piece of advice you would want to leave your teammates before you graduate?

Make sure you’re having fun. It’s not worth it in the end if you didn’t have fun doing it. You have to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing in order to become successful in whatever you do.


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