Balanced attack leads Shaler volleyball to winning season

Sunday, November 1, 2020 | 11:01 AM

There will be no relaxing once the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs start for Shaler outside hitter Mia Schubert.

The Titans — who are the second overall seed — felt they let a match with section rival North Allegheny get away from them late in the season. Shaler — which was scheduled to open the playoffs Oct. 31 against Canon-McMillan — won the first two sets, but ultimately ended up losing to the Tigers, who are the three-time defending state champions.

Schubert thought Shaler, which has equaled last season’s win total with its 12-2 record, mostly handled the emotions of playing North Allegheny well.

“At first, we jumped into the game well,” Schubert said. “We got a little too comfortable and started making errors we shouldn’t have made. I think NA is a good team, but we didn’t play as well as we could have. I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet, but we are getting closer.”

Playing a strong game will be necessary from here on in. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, all districts will only get one representative in the PIAA playoffs. The WPIAL typically sends three teams to the state playoffs.

Shaler’s girls volleyball program has never appeared in the PIAA tournament.

Titans coach Paul Stadelman doesn’t want to look forward to a potential rematch with North Allegheny. He wants the Titans to continue their consistency.

“We don’t want to get overhyped for the playoffs,” Stadelman said. “I think we have to realize that the way we’ve played the game all season is good enough. What we’ve been executing all season is what we need to do in the playoffs.”

What Shaler has practiced all season is balance. The Titans, who earned a bye in the first round, demonstrated their typical effort during their season-ending 3-0 sweep of North Hills.

Schubert led the team with 13 kills. Behind her, there was depth. Mackenzie Barr was second with eight kills while Claudia Clontz, Adella Shepherd and Allison Yarnot all contributed four.

Sierra Ricci led the Titans with 16 digs while Tia Bozzo had 35 assists.

“We have a lot of energy and work hard at practice,” Schubert said. “We know every team is going to have different strengths against us. We want to play at the same high level.”

Stadelman also believed having two matches against North Allegheny late in the season will be an asset. There isn’t a more experienced team the Titans could have matched up with.

“I think (Shaler) has the skill, talent and work ethic that they can compete with anybody,” Stadelman said.

Schubert knows Shaler isn’t the favorite to win the tournament, but knows the Titans have been building for a deep run. The previous two seasons saw Shaler reach the quarterfinals.

Schubert wants the progression the Titans have been building toward to continue.

“Playing together for the past three years helps,” Schubert said. “We are comfortable with each other. We hope everything clicks and we can win.”


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