After quarterfinal loss, Penn-Trafford volleyball hopes to reload for future

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Sunday, November 5, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Penn-Trafford girls volleyball coach Jim Schall would have rather been coaching a semifinal-round match than being at home watching the World Series.

That’s because team dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to No. 3 Canon-McMillan on Oct. 26 in the WPIAL quarterfinals. It was a match that could have gone the Warriors’ way.

“We had leads in Game 1 and 4 late and didn’t finish,” Schall said. “It was a tough loss. Going into the match I thought we had a good chance at winning, and we came close.”

Canon-McMillan moved on to the Class 4A finals with a 3-0 victory against No. 2 Seneca Valley.

Penn-Trafford finished the season with a 12-4 record. The Warriors were champions of Section 3 with an 8-0 record and defeated Bethel Park, 3-1, in the first round of the playoffs.

But if the Warriors want to defend their section title, Schall and his staff have a job ahead.

Penn-Trafford graduates nine players, including first-team all-section honorees Ella Dindak (setter), Elle Visco (outside hitter), Olivia Pepple (middle hitter) and Maci Hohman (libero).

Pepple is headed to Gannon to play basketball.

“Some of the girls want to play in college,” Schall said. “They just haven’t made up their minds.”

Schall said he’s losing a lot of good players who played key roles to the success of the program.

The other seniors leaving the team are Carli Brinko (defensive specialist), Savannah Koscho (defensive specialist), Sophia Green (outside hitter), Ella Spena (setter) and Georgia Kendall (middle setter).

The team will return three key contributors next season in juniors Kaci DePalma (outside hitter), Kamryn Pieper (middle hitter) and Kylie Anthony (outside hitter).

Schall said he’ll use that trio as a building block to reload the program.

“The junior varsity had a good season,” Schall said. “We had a lot of kids get playing time, and we’ll have some work to do. We also have talented players in the middle school program.

“We were hoping for a longer playoff run. We’re disappointed that we lost in the quarterfinals. I felt we were evenly matched with Canon-McMillan, and I felt we’d have a shot at them. We just came up short.”

The other underclassmen returning, along with DePalma, Pieper and Anthony, will be juniors Maclaren Cenci (setter) and Vienna Kearns (defensive specialist); sophomore Cianna Culgan (libero); and freshmen Ava Ruane (setter), Ella McDonald (middle hitter) and Josie Schubert (outside hitter).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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