A-K Valley senior spotlight: St. Joseph’s Stella Swanson

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Monday, December 13, 2021 | 10:11 AM


Stella Swanson started playing volleyball as a freshman at St. Joseph.

By the end of her sophomore season, she was a third-team all-section selection. A year later, she was awarded second-team honors.

With her high school volleyball career recently completed, the 5-foot-7 senior outside hitter can celebrate being a first-team all-section honoree.

“It was always my goal being that I made it sophomore and junior year,” Swanson said of being a member of the 10-player team for Section 4-A. “I knew I wanted to make first team. It was kind of a great accomplishment because I achieved my goal. It was a different feeling this year because I was named captain, and we had a lot of new girls.”

Swanson’s senior teammates Sabrina Quattrocchi (setter), Lacy Zagurskie (outside hitter) and Anabel Stickney (libero) were named third-team all-section after helping the team finish 4-11 overall and 3-9 in Section 4-A, good for fifth place.

Also a talented softball player for St. Joseph, Swanson’s volleyball skills developed throughout the past four years, ultimately making her one of the top outside hitters in Class A.

“Stella was an outstanding leader for our team,” coach Dennis Jones said. “She was a very strong outside hitter for the team.”

Swanson took a few minutes to talk about her accomplishments in this week’s Valley News Dispatch Senior Spotlight.

How did the volleyball season go overall?

It went really well. We got a lot of wins we haven’t gotten in previous years. This year, being my senior year, it was great to get a coupe wins. Hopefully, they can add on more next year.

What will you remember most about playing volleyball at St. Joseph?

Probably the friendships that you gain through that. I came in freshman year and had never played volleyball. I just decided I wanted to play. My sister (Ava) was a junior, and I got to connect with a lot of her friends. It’s nice at a small school to do that. It helped me branch out a little and try new things.”

What are your plans for next fall?

I want to go to a big school. I applied to Clemson, University of Florida, University of Michigan, Pitt, Penn State and Iowa State. I went and visited (the Iowa State) campus two weeks ago with my sister (where she attends). I kinda really enjoyed it out there. It was really nice. I’d like to play a club sport, volleyball or softball.

What other activities are you involved with at St. Joseph?

I’m part of the student ambassador leadership. We basically organize a lot of events at the school and bring in new kids and lead tours and do student shadow days. I’ve been a part of that all four years.

What are your expectations for softball season in the spring?

I’m actually really, really excited. We got a lot of new girls, freshmen who want to play. We made playoffs last year. I think we’re going to at least the second round this year. We didn’t lose a lot of girls. I feel like we can build off our wins from last year and make it further.

What’s it like playing softball for your dad, Al, as the coach?

It’s kind of wholesome. I know I have to push myself, and he has high expectations for me because he played at Penn State. It’s a responsibility to get the team together. He has an expectation on me being the only senior on the team this year to get the girls to mesh well.

What are you looking forward to most about the holidays?

Probably spending time with my family, being able to relax and get a break from all the schoolwork.

What’s the best gift you ever received?

Probably my dog the one year. He’s now 4. He’s an akita, he’s huge. He’s like 130 pounds.

What types of classes are you taking?

St. Joe’s offers high school and college courses. All my courses are college courses: AP calculus 2, chemistry through Duquesne, physics through Duquesne, English through Duquesne, and art history through La Roche and history through La Roche. It’s a lot of work this year.

What is something people might not know about you?

I like my alone time. Everybody sees me as a pretty social person. I like to have my own space and time to think to myself.

— Bill Hartlep

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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