Bethel Park girls volleyball has section title in its sights after near miss last year

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Saturday, August 7, 2021 | 10:01 AM


Bethel Park came close to winning a section title in girls volleyball last season.

The Black Hawks ended up 10-2 in section play with both losses coming against Moon, which finished first at 12-0.

Bethel Park is hoping to take that next step in section play and reel in a championship.

“I expect our team to be very competitive in the section,” coach Brooke Muraco said. “We are looking to build on our successes from last year. “We plan to start off strong and continue to get better and progress each day in the gym, working toward a section title and postseason wins.”

Bethel Park has won four section crowns in girls volleyball in school history — in 1985, 1986, 2004 and 2013.

Last year, the Black Hawks defeated Hempfield in the WPIAL Class 3A first round to advance to the quarterfinals where they lost to, yes, section rival Moon again.

Bethel Park, which ended up 12-4 in 2020, is led by returning middle hitter Chloe McDaniel, an athletic 5-foot-11 senior who also participates in lacrosse.

“Chloe will play a key role in our success this year,” Muraco said. “She is an encouraging, vocal leader and also leads by example. She will be an offensive and defensive threat on the court.”

McDaniel was a first-team all-section and Big 56 selection and was named third-team all-WPIAL a year ago. She also was a team captain and was honored as a Class 4A player of the week.

“My early expectations for the team this season are to do as well, if not better, than we did last year,” McDaniel said, “to have fun and put all of our talent as individuals together so that we can dominate.

“I’d like to thank my two coaches, coach Brooke and (lacrosse) coach Becky (Luzier), for pushing me and getting me to have three successful seasons so far.”

McDaniel is weighing her college options. She plans to major in the field of architecture and continue her volleyball career.

“I love playing both sports,” McDaniel said. “Lacrosse is outdoors and is more aggressive. As a defender, it really helps me prepare when it comes to volleyball and moving my feet.

“Volleyball, however, it’s fast. The pace is great. As a middle hitter, you are always involved in the game and have many responsibilities, which is why, for me, volleyball has my heart more.”

McDaniel has a 3.56 GPA and is involved in DECA, FCCLA, Campus Life and the homecoming committee at Bethel Park.

She was a second-team all-section selection as a defensive specialist on the girls lacrosse team. She hopes to add another sport — diving — to her resume this winter.

“I’m going to try to be on the diving team at our school because I’ve (always) wanted to do it,” McDaniel said.

Two other returning starters in volleyball are juniors Grace Lejeck, an outside hitter, and Sophie Puzausky, a right-side hitter.

“I expect big things from them,” Muraco said.

Puzausky was a second-team all-section and Big 56 selection last year. Lejeck received third-team all-section and Big 56 honorable mention accolades.

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