Chartiers Valley girls volleyball adjusts to new section opponents

Saturday, September 24, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Every two years based on enrollment numbers, the PIAA sets the parameters for each classification in every high school sport. The WPIAL then sets up sections in each sport based on which schools are in each class.

In this two-year cycle that started this school year, realignment to the WPIAL girls volleyball sections did Chartiers Valley no favors.

After finishing sixth in the seven-team Section 2-3A a year ago, the Colts saw two non-playoff teams in Ringgold and West Mifflin exit the new Section 2, while 4A semifinalists from a year ago Moon and Oakland Catholic joined the section.

But in building her program, Chartiers Valley coach Amanda Burgess used those new additions as a measuring stick and a rally cry for her team heading into the 2022 season.

“I want my athletes to have the confidence in themselves, so that they are able to step onto the court against any opponent,” she said.

Burgess is in her third year as head coach at Chartiers Valley after four years as an assistant coach with the Colts.

The Colts (3-3, 1-3 through Sept. 20) won both of their nonsection matches over Penn Hills and Ringgold, then picked up a victory in their section opening match over West Allegheny.

However, it has been a bit of a struggle against other juggernaut section opponents since.

Despite some struggles against some of the top programs in the classification, Chartiers Valley is nearing the midway point of the season with sustained excitement.

“We just have to figure out how to meld together as a varsity team, but we have shown great promise,” Burgess said. “We have the skill. Just have to build the confidence.”

Part of that excitement reached beyond the varsity level. The Chartiers Valley JV team recently won the Shaler JV Invitational.

Another reason for optimism is a strong core of players who are only juniors.

They include outside hitter Sarah Harris, setter Delaney Rodella and defensive specialists Kelly Dougherty and Addie Cousley.

Senior middle Zoe Mangan has also enjoyed a strong start.

Burgess said Mangan is one of the seniors who has stepped into a leading role this fall.

“I think we have another strong group of seniors that were able to step into the leadership positions,” she said.

Last year, Chartiers Valley missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

While making the postseason in this brutal section will be an uphill trot for the Colts, Burgess believes if they continue to improve their game, they could be in the mix for one of four Section 2-3A postseason berths.

“We do have a tough section,” Burgess said, “but I keep reminding my athletes that we can only control our game and how we play together, not who is on that other side of the net.”


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