Familiar face guides Greensburg Central Catholic volleyball to strong start

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Monday, September 26, 2022 | 12:02 PM


Erin Salas, with a long history of coaching in the Greensburg Central Catholic system, has taken over the Centurions varsity girls volleyball team this year, becoming the program’s third head coach in as many seasons.

She succeeds Angela Grabb.

“I did it because I love to coach,” said Salas, a GCC product who attended Saint Vincent to play softball from 2002-06. “I hope to help the next generation adapt.”

Salas said she is hoping to build on her six-year union with the team’s current seniors in an effort to help GCC maintain its lofty status among the WPIAL Class A ranks.

So far, so good.

GCC, which reached the 2021 WPIAL championship match before advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals, was off to a 3-1 start heading into a pair of scheduled Section 4-A games this week against visiting Riverview on Tuesday and at Leechburg on Thursday.

Other Section 4-A teams include St. Joseph, Springdale and Trinity Christian, all of whom GCC had beaten once, and Serra Catholic, which had given the Centurions their only loss.

“It’s great for us that we know each other,” Salas said of her team. “The fact that I’ve had experience with them helps me to tell the difference between when they’re just having a bad day or if their troubles are from something else … and the other way around.

“They know what I’ll accept and what I’ll not tolerate.”

It is a small senior class that includes just one returning starter in libero Kayla Desak, as well as reserve opposite Ellie Althof.

“We have a young but talented team,” Salas said. “We lost six seniors, so we’ve brought in a brand-new set of starters.”

Junior defensive specialist Grace Kindel is the team’s only other returning starter.

Aside from the two seniors, Salas, who began coaching at GCC’s junior high level and last season served as Grabb’s varsity assistant, is well acquainted, as well, with the team’s remaining girls, including Kindel.

The regular rotation has included seven sophomores, led by outside hitter Eva Denis, who saw considerable time last season as a freshman.

“There’s been lots of mistakes early, but we’re showing we can be competitive,” Salas said.

From the GCC junior varsity team, Salas has brought up setter Maura Oslosky, defensive specialists Abby Dei and Emily Lori, middle blockers Erin Grace and Evelyn Viehl and outside hitter Giaramita Zilola, all sophomores, and 5-foot-9 freshman Ashlyn Black.

Under Grabb, who resigned to pursue other interests after taking over the program last season from former coach Courtney Stynchula, the Centurions repeated as WPIAL Class A runner-up, losing to Bishop Canevin in the championship match.

Their season ended in the PIAA tournament with a loss to eventual champion Clarion in the quarterfinal.

Salas is being assisted by Jenna Yezovich, a Woodland Hills product who attended NAIA member Carlow.

“She’s been wonderful for the program,” Salas said. “She’s absolutely amazing to have on the staff. Where I may not know some of the current drills, she’s fresh from playing at the college level and it’s been a great asset to have her on board.”

It isn’t the first time Salas, a Delmont-based elder law attorney, has coached the GCC varsity. She stepped into the role last season when Grabb, a 2013 GCC graduate, stepped away to carry out her wedding plans.

Salas said the team took the disruption in stride.

“It’s been a rough go for this group with all the coaching changes,” she said. “I think what has helped in the transition this year was when I stepped up when Angela missed a number of games. They knew that one or the other of us was going to be there for them.”

And now, Salas is the one.

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