After early-season adversity, Norwin boys volleyball getting up to speed

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Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Norwin boys volleyball seems to take two steps back every time it takes one forward. It’s like everyone is rotating counterclockwise.

Since this season of adversity began March 26, the Knights had played in only one mini-tournament, one nonsection match and one section match three weeks into the campaign.

Other teams had played all of their matches in that time frame.

“At one point, we were the only WPIAL team that did not play a section match, but we finally got the chance,” Knights coach Nick Fallone said. “We’ve been forced to quarantine as a team, have been shut down and have been scheduled to play teams that are forced to quarantine. We’ve had to maintain a steady mindset and control what is in front of us.”

While they were awaiting match action, the Knights were preparing just the same.

“We focus on our now,” Fallone said. “It is easy to get lost in everything going on, but we’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude and come ready to play any time we have the opportunity.”

Norwin has a young team that missed a year of development last season with the pandemic closing down spring sports.

If this season is a slow build, Fallone hopes the end result, the light at the end of the tunnel, is a strong finish. The Knights were ranked No. 7 in the Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association Week 4 poll.

“We hope to be our best at the end of the season,” the coach said. “Four out of the seven starters did not play in a high school match last year, or the year before.”

That means the team leans heavily on seniors JC Govannucci and Austin Saunders.

Govannucci is a 6-foot-6, 195-pound right-side hitter who will play at Thiel. Saunders is a skilled setter and gets match points started.

“We also have battled through injuries this year as we are down a few key players,” Fallone said. “But our young guys have stepped up and played above their class level.”

Fallone also starts a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen.

“It is exciting to see the younger players hungry for competition,” Fallone said. “We’ve taken on a ‘mentally tougher’ mindset and believe that overcoming these obstacles will only help us when we face adversity in games.

“If we can continue to stay on the court and healthy, I believe we can compete with anyone in triple-A.”

Norwin (2-2, 2-1 Section 3-AAA) defeated Central Catholic, 3-0, as Govannucci had 13 kills, while Troy Horvath had five and Mike Fleming, four. The Knights also defeated Armstrong and lost to Penn-Trafford in section play and dropped a 3-0 nonsection decision to Seneca Valley.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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