Brentwood volleyball hopes to contend with new lineup

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Friday, September 13, 2019 | 6:52 PM


The starting lineup for the Brentwood girls volleyball team will look different this season.

With only one returning starter — 5-foot-10 senior hitter Mandy Race — the Spartans are facing an enormous renovation project.

“Although we lost six senior starters from last year, we are having an exciting time with a rebuilding year,” coach Kayla Hubsch said. “Having to completely restart with a new a varsity lineup is a tough but exciting task.

“We have a young crew this year that is going to make an impact and change the dynamics of the team.”

Race and Jaden Schwartz, a senior setter/defensive specialist, are expected to be two of the team leaders this season.

“Mandy is an extremely positive person who rarely, if ever, shows any negativity towards anything,” Hubsch said. “Her energy and positivity is a reason for her leadership. And Jaden saw a good amount of playing time last year as a defensive specialist.

“They are the only two (returning) players who saw significant time on the varsity level last year. The younger girls get along with them and listen to them because of their experience.”

Race, who also competes in track and field as a throwing specialist (discus, shot put, javelin), is a third-year player and second-year starter.

“I’m anticipating a great season for us,” Race said. “We have so many hardworking and talented girls on our team, and our coaches will undoubtedly push us to achieve all the goals we have set. We’re hoping to make it past the (WPIAL) quarterfinals, which is where we got last year. I can hardly wait to start the games and for a great season.”

The tallest player on the team,

Race is optimistic the Spartans will contend for a fourth straight WPIAL playoff berth.

“I’m hoping to win key games, especially against Fort Cherry and Bishop Canevin,” she said, “so we can ultimately win our section and clinch a spot in the playoffs again.”

The Brentwood girls honed their skills and developed team camaraderie in the Pitt Elite summer league.

“We had alot of different lineups throughout the summer,” Hubsch said. “It was exciting to see what worked and what we need most improvement on, especially with such a young group of eager athletes.

“We will continue to work on skill development but also team bonding and communication. Volleyball is a sport that revolves and only works with teamwork. With a new group starting to work together, it is important to build trust in order to be successful.”

Not only is Race active on the volleyball court, she is a member of the National Honor Society and Pep Club, and runs the Fan Section account on Twitter. She also has a team-best 4.5 GPA.

This summer, Race worked on gaining more experience as a middle blocker and middle backer.

“Summer league always serves as our adjustment period in terms of getting a feel for who’s playing where and for getting comfortable with playing with each other,” Race said. “A lot of us never actually played on the court together since most of the girls were on JV the past two years. Summer league provided an excellent base for getting used to playing a variety of positions.

“I think (what) everyone has learned about each other and their playing abilities, it is the precursor to the start of a great season.”

The third senior on this year’s team is Sarah Livingston, a right-side hitter.

Two additional players from last season who are looking to make an impact are juniors Sidney Wuenschell, a middle hitter, and Taylor Davis, a setter/defensive specialist.

“Even with a new lineup, I think we are going to be inexperienced but eager to do our best and still be strong competition in our section,” Hubsch said. “A few of the younger players already have made an impact during summer league and practices.

“A few sophomores and freshmen have been working hard over the summer. A few of the freshmen participated in club volleyball in the offseason.”

There were nine freshmen and seven sophomores on the junior varsity squad last season.

“The JV team had a great year (in 2018),” Hubsch said.

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